The rapid spread of Covid has resulted in depleted workforce in several sectors like healthcare and police.
Hundreds of doctors and nurses have tested positive. Kolkata police had 83 personnel infected till Monday evening.
On Monday, several hospitals requested the government to revise the isolation norms, bringing the mandatory isolation period down to five days as recommended by the American Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta.
“Given what we currently know about Covid-19 and the Omicron variant, CDC is shortening the recommended time for isolation for the public. People with Covid-19 should isolate for 5 days and if they are asymptomatic or their symptoms are resolving (without fever for 24 hours), follow that by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others to minimise the risk of infecting people they encounter. The change is motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after,” said a media statement by CDC, Atlanta.
In India, the Indian Council of Medical Research has recommended 10 days of isolation but several hospital administrators said on Monday that it was becoming difficult to provide treatment with Covid spreading fast.
One government medical college, after a meeting, has decided that the doctors and nurses will undergo RT-PCR test on the fifth day from the day of the first test. If the result is negative, they should rejoin work, said sources.
NRS Medical College and Hospital and Calcutta National Medical College and Hospital had around 100 doctors and nurses testing positive in last two to three days.
In private hospitals too many were affected. Woodlands Hospital had around 50 healthcare workers affected with Covid. “We have to evaluate the isolation norms and take a decision to keep the system moving,” said public health expert Abhijit Chowdhury.
Several hospitals raised the issue during a meeting with the health department on Monday.
“The government is asking us to increase beds but with many healthcare workers testing positive we are struggling to provide services,” said R. Venkatesh, regional director, east, of Narayana Health.
The group had more than 150 healthcare workers, including doctors, in home isolation. A state health department official said they have raised the issue with the Centre.
“It’s the health ministry which can change the protocol. We have the flagged the issue with the ministry and are expecting a revised guideline from ICMR soon,” said Ajoy Chakraborty, the state’s director of health services.