TAMIL NADU

Staff nurse dies of COVID-19 at ‘hotspot’ RGGGH

Complaints of poor-quality masks and a lack of separate rooms for changing PPE have surfaced.B. Jothi Ramalingam

Complaints of poor-quality masks and a lack of separate rooms for changing PPE have surfaced.B. Jothi Ramalingam  

A staff nurse died of COVID-19 at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH) on Sunday.

With several doctors, including seniors and postgraduates, having tested positive for the infection in the last few days, there are fears among the hospital’s staff that Tamil Nadu’s largest government tertiary care centre may have become a hotspot for COVID-19.

The increasing number of COVID-19 cases among healthcare providers has become a cause for worry at RGGGH. At least 60 PG doctors were isolated at ESI, Ayanavaram, after testing positive over the last three days. They included 44 who were residing at the PG men’s hostel. A number of senior doctors and assistant professors have also tested positive.

RGGGH authorities confirmed that a staff nurse, who was in her early fifties, died of COVID-19 at the hospital on Sunday. Reliable sources said that she had initially tested positive for COVID-19, but subsequently, repeat swab tests had returned negative for the infection. She returned to work after 14 days, and tested positive again.

“RGGGH has become a hotspot for COVID-19. First of all, patients with infectious diseases should be admitted to places where there is good ventilation and adequate natural sunlight. Both these factors are absent in the blocks where COVID-19 patients are being admitted,” a doctor said, on condition of anonymity.

Currently, patients who test positive are admitted to the Rheumatology Block, wards 205, 206, 215, 43 and 47 in Tower 2, while Tower 3 houses the COVID-19 outpatient department.

Earlier, healthcare providers posted on COVID-19 duty were granted a 14-day quarantine.

“With patient inflow increasing, the hospital is not providing a proper quarantine period to them,” the doctor alleged. They have changed the testing policy, and are screening only symptomatic healthcare providers,” he added. Many healthcare professionals complained of long working hours which were leading to increased exposure to the infection.

Complaints of poor-quality masks and face shields and a lack of separate rooms for the donning and doffing of personal protective equipment in Towers 2 and 3 have also surfaced. It was time that all blocks were fumigated, a doctor said.

However, a hospital official said the RGGGH was running smoothly. “Most of the affected PGs are asymptomatic. We are taking up massive disinfection measures at the hospital, hostels and CRRI ,” he said.

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