Two latest positive cases of coronavirus, one each from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana may prove to be highly challenging for the administration concerned. Though the profiles are different, they are bound by two common factors—unknown source and contact with a large population.
A total of 10 cases have been recorded in Andhra Pradesh and 44 in Telangana till date. According to the medical bulletin released by Andhra Pradesh government, the 52-year-old patient is a resident of Guntur, situated close to the capital Amaravathi. He had tested positive for COVID-19 on March 25. A tobacco trader by profession, the patient had attended a religious meeting in Delhi on March 14. He was accompanied by more than a dozen people from his town. Preliminary probe by the officials revealed that he stayed with 20 people for more two days in the religious centre in the national capital. During this period, he was part of a large gathering, coming in contact with a large number of people belonging to people from different countries. On March 18, he boarded Duronto Express train from Delhi along with his group and reached Vijayawada on March 19. From there, the patient along with his group proceeded towards Guntur, one hour away, in a cab. On March 21, due to ill-health he consulted a private hospital and as his health deteriorated, he was advised to go to a government hospital. He was kept in isolation from March 23 after collecting his samples.
According to a local resident who knows the patient’s family, the person was suffering from COVID-19 symptoms for the last few days. “He has been unwell for a week. In fact, when he was in the train to Vijaywada, he had flu. However, he never expected that he would have this infection. He did not bother getting a check-up as soon as he reached his town.”
The patient is a close relative of the local MLA. According to local sources, the patient met the MLA after his journey. He had also spent time with the public representative at his place. At an informal event organised by the MLA, he is believed to have interacted and mingled with scores of leader’s followers and locals. Till the day he was kept in isolation he was seen moving in public places. The district administration has identified around 24 people for quarantine and isolation. The MLA is also reportedly in isolation. Despite numerous attempts, he could not be contacted.
J. Yasmin, district medical and health officer, Guntur, said, “We have kept six people in isolation wards and 18 are under quarantine. They include family members as well as those he came in contact with. We have identified people who he travelled with. Since he was also going to the local mosque regularly, we have asked people who interacted with him to be in isolation.” Yasin hinted that it was almost impossible to find how he contracted the infection.
The last two positive cases of coronavirus from Telangana are doctors. The husband and wife duo tested positive on March 26. They work in a popular corporate hospital in an upmarket area of the city. The hospital did not officially treat any CoOVID-19 patient till date. According to sources in the hospital, the doctors were general physicians and were posted in outpatient ward. A few days back, they sensed that they were showing symptoms of COVID-19 because of which they went into self quarantine and sent their samples for tests. As soon as their results were out, they got admitted in the same hospital they were working. For the first time, patients of COVID-19 are getting treated in a private hospital.
“The wife and husband must have seen and treated many patients. It will be difficult to find out how they got this infection and who got it first among them,” said a senior doctor working in a government hospital. He also added that it will also be daunting task to figure out the patients and hospital staff they came in contact with in the last few days as it is a busy hospital.
A colleague of the couple spoke on condition of anonymity, “They took all the precautions like rest of us did. But we can get infected in the line of duty. Many doctors and staff have gone into isolation after the doctors tested positive.”
According to health officials, the contact tracing is on in this case. While these cases prove that there is local transmission, there is a section in the administration who suspect that state might have entered the community transmission stage, especially with high number of cases noticed in and around Hyderabad, Karimnagar and other areas in Telangana.