As many as six healthcare facilities, including a primary health centre and a private hospital, have had to abruptly suspend operations after staff or patients ended up testing positive for the coronavirus, incidents that have added to the concerns of an already stretched healthcare infrastructure in Jamshedpur and its neighbourhoods.
On Saturday, Jugsalai primary health centre (PHC) had to be closed after the father of one of the staff members tested positive. Similarly, Lifeline Nursing Home, a private entity in Sakchi, was also shut after a patient tested positive for the coronavirus.
On Friday, a technician posted at the X-ray department of Mercy Hospital in Baridih tested positive, prompting the authorities to seal the department. On Wednesday, the labour room of Sadar Hospital in Khasmahal had to be sealed after a middle-aged woman tested positive after delivery.
East Singhbhum district civil surgeon Rajendra Jha admitted such instances were worrying but that they were helpless.
“Both patients and staff are emerging coronavirus positive at several hospitals, including Sadar Hospital, Mercy Hospital, Tata Motor Hospital and even the MGM Medical College Hospital. We are helpless,” he said, adding he feared that more and more patients, admitted for treatment of various pre-existing ailments, may end up testing positive in days to come.
“This is because people are not adhering to social distancing norms," Jha told The Telegraph Online.
On July 8, a nurse at MGM Medical College Hospital's ICU tested positive after which the hospital authorities sent swab samples of as many as 42 doctors and nursing staff, besides others, for Covid test.
Earlier, a pregnant woman tested positive at Tata Motors Hospital's labour room after which the hospital management launched a contact tracing exercise.
As news of such instances have started to spread, residents have become extremely wary of visiting hospitals for treatment. They are all consulting doctors and continuing treatment at home even at the cost of inconveniencing fellow family members.
Usha Singh (58), who fell ill at home in Mango on Friday, would have gone to Tata Main Hospital for treatment. As the wife of a former Tata Steel employee, she is entitled to free care there. But she did not. She consulted a physician at Sonari and stayed at home while being treated.
"I would have to stay two-three days at Tata Main Hospital. But I insisted on being treated at home because I was not feeling comfortable about going to Tata Main Hospital under the present circumstances. In fact, I did not want to go to any hospital,” she explained.