Tamil Nadu

Coronavirus | Healthcare providers, families test positive

CHENNAI, TAMIL NADU,07/05/2021: Doctor examine to covid patient on Ambulance at Kilpauk Government Medical College hospital on Friday, May 07, 2021.Photo: Velankanni Raj B/THE HINDU  

Many healthcare providers/workers have tested positive for COVID-19 in the State. In a number of cases, family members of the doctors too have been infected.

In the last two days, a government doctor and two nurses lost their lives to COVID-19 in Tamil Nadu. With exhaustion setting in among health workers, the risk of getting infected is adding to their stress.

A doctor at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital said a ward meant for infected health workers, with about 25-30 beds, had no vacancies. “There are cases of re-infections among healthcare providers. Some have mild infection. Some who have taken both doses of the vaccines have also tested positive but with a mild infection, while those who are yet to get the jabs have become very sick,” he said.

A postgraduate medical student said, “Many doctors are testing positive for COVID-19. Most are those involved in non-COVID-19 ward duties. Unlike the last year, even family members of doctors are getting infected. I know of three or four families of postgraduates who have been infected.”

He said basic needs such as proper personal protective equipment (PPE), masks, sanitisers, quarantine after a week of COVID-19 duty, grant of stipend and payment of salaries without delays would be of help. “A separate ward for doctors who test positive is needed, so that we do not get cross-infected and can get back to the fight against COVID-19 soon,” he added.

A doctor at a city government hospital said an exclusive facility should be set up for health workers and their family members. “Fully vaccinated health workers are getting infected. In some cases, their entire families are testing positive. We are finding it difficult to provide beds even for them and their family members,” he said.

“Protecting healthcare workers seems to be beyond control now. Community transmission is rampant. Hotel quarantine and isolation for health workers may reduce transmission among them,” he said.

A postgraduate student at the Government Stanley Medical College Hospital said, “My friends and colleagues who tested positive for COVID-19 had mild to moderate disease. They recovered and joined duty again.” Doctors are also calling for the setting up of a mechanism to address their grievances related to accommodation for quarantine and getting beds for infected healthcare providers.

K. Senthil, president of the Tamil Nadu Government Doctors’ Association, said doctors and health workers were getting infected while on duty. “They are now being asked to quarantine after duty. The government should decide on fixing the number of beds and number of doctors. If there are extra patients, the government should decide on how to go about it. For instance, if a hospital has 400 beds, we are admitting up to 500-550 patients. We need to recruit manpower, especially nurses and hospital workers, immediately,” he said.

P. Saminathan, president of the Service Doctors’ and Postgraduates’ Association, said, “Postgraduates, who are the backbone of medical college hospitals, are exhausted. It is important to recruit doctors, nurses and paramedical personnel. Like last year, doctors should be provided accommodation during their quarantine period and should be tested before they return home and before they resume duty.”

He added that pending financial relief should be handed over to the families of doctors who died due to COVID-19.


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Printable version | Jun 18, 2021 6:40:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/healthcare-providers-families-test-positive/article34530882.ece

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