Covid patients dodging mandatory institutional quarantine in Ranchi
Many Covid patients, mostly those who are asymptomatic, have been dodging mandatory institutional quarantine in Ranchi and posing a risk of transmission among local residents and family members, officials said on Wednesday, adding that the district administration has directed incident commanders to ensure that Covid patients aren't allowed to stay at home.
“We cannot afford to be complacent at this stage. All area commanders have been directed to make sure that Covid patients in their areas are sent to institutional quarantine and not allowed to stay at home irrespective of the severity of their symptoms,” said Ranchi deputy commissioner Chhavi Ranjan.
As per government data, the count of active Covid-19 cases has shot up from 50 to over 100 in Ranchi in the past week or so. However, only about 15 patients were admitted in hospitals, a source from the district administration said.
According to latest data with the health department, there were 103 Covid patients in Ranchi on Wednesday and only two of them were undergoing treatment at Sadar Hospital. Also, Jharkhand’s largest government-run hospital, the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), had zero bed occupancy in the Covid ward on Tuesday – an indication that Covid patients were avoiding hospitalisation.
“We do not have any Covid patients admitted in our hospital today. While this can be seen as a positive sign that patients are not developing serious symptoms, we also need to be aware of the fact that patients could be avoiding hospitalization,” Dr. Prabhat Kumar, the coordinator of Covid-19 task force at RIMS, said on Wednesday.
Dr. Kumar added that strict adherence to the mandate of institutional quarantine was needed in order to avoid a rise in cases of infection. The government, he said, should not allow home quarantine for Covid patients even if the number of cases come down to zero in the district.
In July, the health and family welfare department in Jharkhand had done away with the option of home isolation for Covid patients and made institutional quarantine mandatory even for asymptomatic patients. While the cases dropped significantly in early August, the trajectory of Covid cases has seen an upward trend in the past one week, forcing the government to plan reopening of quarantine centres.
The Ranchi district administration is planning to reopen the quarantine centre at the Mega Sports Complex in Hotwar in order to accommodate Covid patients in case of a sudden spike in cases, officials said.
As per government data, there were 217 active cases of Covid-19 in Jharkhand by Wednesday morning and about 40 per cent of the patients were symptomatic. Almost half of the active cases in Jharkhand were from Ranchi, the district which has reported the highest number of Covid cases and fatalities in the state so far.