Doctors under the banner of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) are fearing that too few tests in Jharkhand may not reveal the full seriousness of the Covid-19 pandemic in the state, which so far has not confirmed any novel coronavirus positive patient, unlike neighbours Bihar, Bengal and Odisha.
IMA state president Dr A.K. Singh told The Telegraph that they flagged concerns to health secretary Nitin Madan Kulkarni. “We felt that for a population of over 3.29 crore, some 200 tests are too few, and hence we demanded that the scope of tests be expanded,” Singh said.
Fearing lack of preparation to fight a calamity-like situation, doctors also demanded the state health department scale up facilities for Covid-19 tests and more protective gear for frontline health workers.
Kulkarni told doctors that tests were being held as per guidelines of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and also going beyond the guidelines to examine all high-risk persons or those showing symptoms of Covid-19.
Kulkarni also told Singh that more than 30,000 personnel protective equipment (PPE) kits would reach Jharkhand by next week and that two more testing facilities for Covid-19 in the state, including one in Dhanbad, will be made operational by Tuesday.
Dhanbad district health department roped in the IMA unit to monitor those who have recently returned from abroad for physical screening for Covid-19, and advise home quarantine to them if no symptoms of Covid-19 infection are found.
Swab test after death
A 25-year-old man with symptoms of respiratory distress died late on Saturday night in Dhanbad. The government-run PMCH administration, which preserved the body in the mortuary alerted the district health department that sent the throat swab of deceased for mandatory testing at Ranchi.
Dhanbad civil surgeon Gopal Das said that the deceased had been admitted to a local hospital in Dhanbad on Saturday from where he was referred to PMCH later.
“Only his test report from Ranchi will confirm whether he was infected with Covid-19 or not,” Das said.
PMCH superintendent Arun Kumar Chaudhary said the youth was brought dead to their hospital on Saturday night and his family hid the fact that he was advised home quarantine a week ago after thermal scanning at PMCH.
A Covid-19 coordination committee meeting was held on Sunday at the district collectorate chaired by DC Amit Kumar who asked the health department arrange PPEs, triple-layer masks, N-95 masks and swab kits. The meeting, attended by SSP Kishore Kaushal, civil surgeon Gopal Das, PMCH superintendent Arun Kumar, BCCL CMD P.M. Prasad, municipal commissioner Chandramohan Kashyap and others, highlighted the need to profile all high-risk persons by stamping their hands with indelible ink.
MP releases funds
Singhbhum MP of the Congress Geeta Koda released Rs 1 crore from her MPLADS funds for prevention and control of Covid-19.
Police seized a consignment of IMFL bottles from a moving auto-rickshaw and arrested the driver at Dimna Chowk in Ulidih in the small hours of Sunday, but the two men on a scooter escorting the auto fled. The sale of liquor stopped after the lockdown was imposed. Police said the driver claimed he knew nothing about the consignment.