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COVID-19 surge | Hundreds of medical staff at Patna’s hospitals test positive

A deserted view of Exibition road overbridge during the night curfew imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19 cases, in Patna, on April 20,2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Over 700 doctors, nurses and paramedic staff in Patna-based hospitals have been infected in the COVID-19 surge in the State capital. With severe staff shortages and a rising number of patients, both government and private hospitals are unable to provide COVID-19 patients with beds or the required emergency medical attention.

Nearly 600 medical personnel from four leading government hospitals in the State capital — the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH), the Nalanda Medical College and Hospital (NMCH), the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (IGIMS), and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) — have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The AIIMS-Patna Medical Superintendent C.M. Singh has said that 384 doctors, nurses, paramedic staff and other Grade 4 employees have been infected with the virus at the facility. Similarly, 70 doctors from the PMCH and 55 nurses have fallen sick, said the hospital’s Superintendent Dr. Indu Shekhar Thakur. “Not less than 100 doctors, nurses and other staff from the NMCH and IGIMS, too, have tested positive,” said a senior doctor of the NMCH on condition of anonymity.

“Three-four private hospitals in Patna are on the verge of closure as most of their doctors, nurses and staff have been infected. Those who are somehow managing to treat patients are full to their capacity and short of doctors. It’s a scary situation everywhere,” said Dr. Atul Verma of Hajipur, near Patna.

“What to do? This is an emergency-like situation here, with bare minimum medical facilities. Most of the private hospitals have put up ‘no beds available’ boards outside their gates while some say ‘beds available but no oxygen cylinders available’,” said Dr. Sanjiv Kumar, who has been working in a private Patna hospital for the past seven years.

The State government has claimed that oxygen supply to hospitals in the city has been adequate and smooth. “No hospital can now say that they face shortage of oxygen as it has been regularly monitored by the district administration with magistrates deployed there,” said Patna’s District Development Commissioner Richie Pandey.

From April 17 to 21, 27,904 cylinders of oxygen have been supplied to Patna hospitals.

The government has asked some upcoming private and government hospitals to provide facilities for COVID-19 patients soon. At a government hospital with 500 beds in Bihta, near Patna, doctors from the Armed Forces have made arrangements to start admitting COVID-19 patients. The Indian Medical Association, Bihar chapter, too has released a list of 40 doctors across the State, with their contact numbers, for medical assistance on phone to COVID-19 patients.

Bihar, so far, has 63,745 active cases of COVID-19, and 1,897 have died. On Wednesday, 12,222 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the state. The total number of COVID-19 cases in the State stood at 3.54 lakh with a 81.47% recovery rate. “It is estimated that in next 10 days, 2 lakh new cases of COVID-19 will hit the State, and by then the number of active cases are expected to rise up to 1.5 lakh,” said a Health Department official. “The coming days are going to be more challenging.”

Other than Patna, Gaya, Saran, Begusarai, Aurangabad, Bhagalpur, West Champaran, Muzaffarpur, Purnia and Vaishali districts are the worst affected.

The State has postponed the upcoming Panchayat polls in the State till “further decision”.

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Printable version | May 18, 2021 7:01:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/covid-19-second-wave-500-doctors-health-workers-of-bihars-2-leading-hospitals-infected/article34382541.ece

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