A 29-year-old doctor working at a Railways hospital in Erode tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Sunday. She had treated a co-traveller of two Thai nationals who were infected with the coronavirus.
A total of eight new cases of coronavirus were reported in Tamil Nadu, increasing the total number of cases to 50. One patient has already died.
According to Tamil Nadu Health Secretary Dr Beela Rajesh, “Eight new cases have tested positive on Sunday. Of the eight cases, four cases are from the same family, with contacts linked to patient no 26.”
All the eight news patients were either in direct or indirect contact with the Thai nationals who were tested positive on March 21 and who are quarantined at the IRT Perundurai Medical College near Erode. The Thai nationals had come to India for a religious conference in Delhi and travelled to Erode to meet people at the local Jamaat. A patient in Madurai, who tested positive and died on Thursday, was in contact with the Thai nationals. The Thai nationals who came to Tamil Nadu have infected at least 14 people so far. The doctor along with her 10-month-old baby, her mother and her woman help have tested positive for the coronavirus.
The daily bulletin, issued by the department of health and family welfare, said that the 29-year-old patient, called as patient number 43, was the contact of patient 26, who is a co-traveller of the two Thai nationals. Patient 43, as she is called, was a doctor with the Southern Railway. Sources in the Railways department say that the doctor came in contact with patient no 26, a 63-year old man, before March 20.
The man had come for treatment at the Railway hospital in Erode, before she was transferred to Podanur Railway hospital in Coimbatore on March 23. His samples tested positive on March 25, while the doctor was transferred on March 23 itself from Erode to the Podanur Railway hospital in Coimbatore.
After the transfer, the female doctor did not treat anyone as she was running high fever. She reported sick immediately to the Railway authorities. The Podanur Railway hospital has been sanitised and closed to the public for the past few days. As of now, her family is admitted to the ESI hospital in Coimbatore for treatment. However, her husband and her elder child have tested negative, say health department sources.
This is the first case of a doctor testing positive in Tamil Nadu, thus raising the questions of required equipment to the doctors treating the patients. “We have made arrangements for all the required PPE for the doctors and the health care staff,” says Health Minister Dr C. Vijaya Bhaskar. But a circular saying that the PG students on duty will have to organise their own equipment, including masks, went viral in social media on Wednesday and Thursday.
Meanwhile, two patients from the US have been discharged on Sunday and advised home quarantine. With this, a total of four patients have recovered from the illness. According to the health secretary 43,538 people who returned from overseas have been advised home quarantine for 28 days and 28 asymptomatic patients from countries badly affected by coronavirus have been quarantined in government quarantine centres near the airport and 295 people are in hospital isolation. A total of 1,763 samples have been tested in Tamil Nadu. Off these, 1,674 samples have been processed, out of which 1,624 samples tested negative and 50 tested positive.