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Coronavirus | Kashmir Valley hospital, apple cold storage unit turn COVID-19 hotspots

Policemen stop vehicles during nationwide lockdown in Srinagar on May 4, 2020

Policemen stop vehicles during nationwide lockdown in Srinagar on May 4, 2020   | Photo Credit: NISSAR AHMAD

A super-speciality hospital and an apple cold storage unit have become COVID-19 infection hubs in the Kashmir valley, as 13 more people tested positive for coronavirus on Saturday, pushing the total to 836.

The hospital, associated with the Government Medical College (GMC), witnessed the death of a 34-year-old attendant, who was tending to his ailing father, on May 7. According to doctors at the GMC, the preliminary investigation suggests that the youth could have died of cytokine storm, when a body’s immune starts to attack its own cells and tissues.

Three days later, 11 people, including one doctor, two nurses, one sanitation attendant, two patients and five attendants, have tested positive.

“Around 20 staff members have been put in administrative quarantine. A majority of staff has been tested and found negative. Sanitisation of the hospital has been done and the admitted patients have been isolated,” Dr. Salim Khan, head of department, Social and Preventive Medicine and nodal officer for COVID-19, told The Hindu.

Over 40 doctors and nurses have been tested so far and “may likely go for repeat tests after the outbreak of a cluster case”, hospital sources said.

The father and a relative of the 34-year-old man have also tested positive and were shifted to the Chest Disease Hospital. The super-speciality hospital remains operational and services are being restored. It is the second government-run hospital facing cluster cases. Earlier, six patients at the Bones and Joints Hospital tested positive.

Baseer Ahmad Khan, Adviser to the Lieutenant Governor, on Saturday called for establishing COVID-19 public information booths at all hospitals and screening booths where a doctor or any other health official would be posted for screening all the persons who visit the government-run hospitals.

“All the persons who visit the hospitals (both the patients and attendants) whether symptomatic or asymptomatic would be screened and checked at the booths to ensure that other people already in the hospital would be saved from the disease,” Mr. Khan said. He has asked all the district health officials to make testing mandatory for all referrals besides tagging them with COVID-free certificates.

Cold storage

At least 14 people, who got in touch with the employees working in a cold storage at Rangreth, have tested positive, forcing a large-scale isolation of workers in the unit.

“All contacts of the latest 14 COVID-19 positives cases are being traced and put in quarantine immediately,” said Tariq Hussain Ganai, Deputy Commissioner of Budgam.

In a statement, a spokesman of the FIL Industries, running the cold storage unit, said a fruit packer from Budgam, who is not an employee of the company, tested positive on May 6.

“The test results of four employees have come positive. All due measures for the further sanitisation of the controlled atmospheric facility have also been undertaken,” the spokesman said.

He said the cold storage is an essential service provider for the storage of apples for the farmers. “The company is fully invested in COVID-19 compliant measures, including the usage of personal protective kits, social distancing, masks etc.,” he added.

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2020 3:38:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/valley-hospital-apple-cold-storage-unit-turn-covid-19-hotspots/article31546219.ece

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