The Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS) in Rohtak | Photo:
The Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS) in Rohtak | Photo:
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Rohtak: The Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS) in Rohtak has emerged as a Covid-19 hotspot as 24 healthcare workers of the institute’s gynaecology department have tested positive as of 2 April.

All the infected staffers were posted at the labour ward in the gynaecology department.

Sources told ThePrint that an investigation by the hospital has found that the source of the spread was a birthday party that a number of those infected had attended in the second week of March.

“One of the faculty members threw a birthday party outside the hospital in the second week of March. Half-a-dozen postgraduate (PG) students attended the party. One of the staffers who attended this party had mild symptoms such as fever and nausea,” a senior PGIMS officer said on the condition of anonymity.

“All these staffers were posted in the same labour room and also shared the same hostel. This is how the labour room turned into a red zone.”

The hospital’s medical superintendent, Dr Pushpa Dahiya, however, denied reports that all the doctors tested positive within a week.

“The news that said that all of the doctors tested positive within a week is false. The first case was reported on 15 March and the second case came on 17 March. Then on the 19th, three staffers tested positive,” she said. “After this, every alternate day, three or four staffers’ reports came positive. Two people tested positive on 1 April. All this happened within the span of two weeks.”

Dr Dahiya also said that none of the nurses or patients in the ward have tested positive as the hospital follows strict Covid-19 protocols.

According to her, four pregnant women tested positive for Covid-19 in March but they contracted the coronavirus before they were admitted in hospital.

“The staffers wore PPE kits and N95 masks during their duties in the labour. We have not found any patient who got Covid from the staffers,” Dr Dahiya said. “The staffers got together and ate together outside the hospital premises. That is how the virus spread among the staffers and not the labour ward patients.”

A postgraduate student, who has tested positive, blamed the department for the situation. “The department behaved irresponsibly and did not take the cases seriously in the first week,” the student said over the phone. “The attendees of the patients do not wear a mask. The ignorance has led to the virus infecting the whole ward.”

The institute’s gynaecology department has 57 PG students, 27 faculty members and six resident doctors. Of these, 24 have tested positive for Covid.

A source said that none of them are serious. “Some of the staffers have mild symptoms and the rest are asymptomatic,” the source said.

Labour ward up and running

The crisis had led to the labour ward being shut for two days — 31 March and 1 April — but Dr Dahiya said the ward had now been relocated and the critical cases were being taken care of.

“We have thoroughly sanitised the labour ward and have relocated it. The patients already with us have been taken care of,” she said. “For emergency cases, we have written to the civil hospital in Rohtak to help us in this crisis. We have managed a lot of patients at our level only.”

According to the superintendent, the gynaecology department sees around 600 patients a day.

Only 12 had taken first vaccine dose, 2 were vaccinated

Of the 24 medical staffers, two were vaccinated and 12 have taken the first dose, sources told ThePrint.

A senior doctor at the hospital said that the rest had opted out. “Women doctors and nurses are apprehensive due to fake news that the vaccines cause infertility,” the doctor said.

“Moreover, a senior doctor who took the Covishield fell sick and remained absent for two weeks. This led to more students not taking the vaccine.”

(Edited by Arun Prashanth)

Also read: Covid brought down TB detection by 25% in India in 2020, analysis by health ministry finds


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