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30 of NRS test negative for Covid-19

Civic body disinfects hospital premises

Subhajoy Roy And Monalisa Chaudhuri Calcutta Published 07.04.20, 09:00 PM
Swab samples of several others will be collected and sent for tests in the next few days, according to hospital officials

Swab samples of several others will be collected and sent for tests in the next few days, according to hospital officials (Shutterstock)

Thirty of the 79 healthcare providers of NRS hospital quarantined over the weekend for being exposed to a coronavirus patient have tested negative for Covid-19, the state health department said on Tuesday.

The swab test results of many others are still to arrive. Swab samples of several others will be collected and sent for tests in the next few days, according to hospital officials.


The patient, a man in his 30s, died at the hospital on Saturday after being admitted with a blood disorder problem three to four days ago. Doctors had kept him in the male general ward since he did not show any symptom of the virus, a government official said. For the same reason, they did not take any extra precaution while treating him. He was shifted to the critical care unit when his condition worsened, the official said.

By then he had started showing symptoms of Covid-19 and his swab sample was sent for tests. “He tested positive but the report came after his death. That is why all healthcare providers who had been exposed to him have been quarantined,” the official said.

Some of those quarantined include doctors, members of the nursing staff and cleaners. Most have been kept at a hotel in New Town, while some have been home-quarantined. Of the 79 quarantined, 39 are doctors, a hospital official said.

“The swab test results of 30 healthcare providers arrived late on Monday. They have all tested negative. Their swab samples had been sent for tests on Saturday,” a health department official said.

Santanu Sen, the chairman of NRS Hospital’s Rogi Kalyan Samiti and state secretary of the Indian Medical Association, Bengal, said the “decision to quarantine them was taken by the principal and the hospital administration. They will get them back into service at the earliest after maintaining proper protocol”.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee had on Monday urged people with symptoms of Covid-19 to visit only designated hospitals such as MR Bangur. “A patient with pneumonia went to NRS hospital. He died and after his death it became known that he had tested positive for Covid-19. Now, all doctors and nurses are worried. Doctors and nurses need to be in good health,” she had said.

The hospital’s male medicine ward and the critical care unit where the patient had undergone treatment have been sealed. Civic workers sprayed disinfectants on the hospital premises on Tuesday.

A doctor at the hospital said the quarantined people included interns as well junior doctors — postgraduate trainee and house-staff doctors. Many junior doctors and interns were still at the hospital’s hostel. “What will they do? They have to stay back to treat patients,” the doctor said.

Adviser in quarantine

The adviser to the Calcutta Municipal Corporation’s health department is in home quarantine after it emerged that a patient who had visited him tested positive for Covid-19, officials of the civic body said.

The officials said swab samples of the adviser would be collected. If the report is positive, a large number of employees in the CMC’s health department, including senior officials, will have to be sent to home quarantine.

A number of medical officers and borough health officers will be among those who will have to quarantine themselves.

“A person who tested positive for the coronavirus (which causes Covid-19) visited our adviser’s chamber in the CMC headquarters on Saturday morning. The adviser attended office and held important meetings on Saturday,” the official said.

A CMC official said they were waiting anxiously for the results. “If he tests positive, many of us will have to be in home quarantine. A lot of health-related work will suffer,” the official said.

Among the major tasks of the CMC health department is to keep tabs on all those who are in home quarantine and trace contacts of those who are testing positive for the virus.

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