Coronavirus: New Cases, New Crisis

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SRINAGAR: The situation on the Covid-19 front took a frightening turn on Saturday when 13 fresh cases of positive cases – 10 in Kashmir alone, were reported from the twin laboratories in Kashmir – one from SKIMS and nine from GMC run Chest Disease Hospital. This has added to the load on the fragile health sector that, as per protocol, has to locate the immediate contacts and manage their immediate transfer to the quarantine centres. One of these cases was detected late tonight.

Now Jammu and Kashmir has 33 cases, of them 25 in Kashmir including the one person who is no more and the first patient who is recovering.

The three new cases that were reported from Jammu belong to two Udhampur district. While one of them had recently returned from Ludhiana, two others had flown home from Indonesia.

SMHS Hospital

The GMC run Associated Hospitals are seemingly taking the major load of the crisis, right now. In two batches, its laboratory detected nine new cases, seven in one batch and two in the second one.

Dr M Salim Khan (GMC)

“Those turned positive included a couple from Srinagar that had recently flown home from Mumbai,” Dr M Salim Khan, the GMC spokesman said. “Of the rest, three were from a Bandipore locality who had gone to attend a religious meeting in Delhi, another Srinagar resident who also attended the same meeting and another person from Budgam who had attended a similar meeting in Jammu.”

While the close contacts of all the positive cases have been summoned to quarantine, the authorities are perplexed over the contacts that the Srinagar and Budgam persons might have had because they have remained highly mobile. One report, not immediately confirmed by officials said, at least two mosques in the south and north Kashmir are under watch and the two villages have been asked to stay cautious.

 “On Friday, we had collected 60 samples and the results of 47 are out – all the nine belong to these batches,” Dr Khan said, asserting that the laboratory panel can accommodate 24 samples in one turn. “In seen cases, we knew high viral loan only last night but we have to go for another major confirmatory test the results of which came Saturday noon.”

The GMC laboratory has collected 47 new samples for testing on Saturday.

The JLNM Hospital

“Right now, we have 107 contacts of various positive cases with us excluding the two minor brothers whose grandfather tested positive earlier,” Dr Bilquis Shah told Kashmir Life. “We are waiting for the contacts from a Chadoora patient who tested positive today.”

Dr Bilquis Shah

Dr Shah said they helped the Chest Disease Hospital in collecting 12 samples and the rest of the samples would be collected on Sunday. “This is a new crisis that we had never witnessed and it has a different protocol that we are picking up ad picking quite fast,” Dr Shah said. However, the hospital is facing issues.

Doctor Sacked

Authorities on Saturday terminated from the service, a microbiologist – holding an important position after she stopped attending the hospital for last many days. Identified as Dr Mariaya Jeelani, JLNM sources said, she was hired under National Health Mission.

“Our problem is that she had been sent to Delhi for special training and was supposed to train others,” Dr Shah said. “Almost everybody rang her up, four times we sent her an ambulance and a formal request to join the service owing to an emergency but she did not turn up.”

The order issued by the Director Health Services reads: “You were asked to attend your duties immediately, keeping the view the prevailing disaster the Covid-19 outbreak in Valley which you failed to comply with and it created a lot of inconvenience to the patients and hospital administration.” Reports said the civil administration may initiate criminal proceedings against the microbiologist.

The microbiologist is not alone. Earlier, the health authorities placed under suspension the service of an ophthalmologist, also a female and daughter of a politician. She stopped coming to the hospital and was place under suspension. Sore eyes are now being considered as the new symptoms of the disease and the JLNM has no specialists because she has refused to attend her duties.

Patient Problems

The situation in the Jawahar Lal Nehru Memorial Hospital was slightly bad as some of the patients retained in quarantine turned violent and fled. This added another tension to the health authorities and the civil administration.

Surviving Epidemics

“Earlier, when the doctors were taking the round, a group of patients deserted the hospital. It took a serious and a very long effort to get them back,” Dr Shah said. Those who fled were from a Srinagar locality. “In the evening when the hospital staff was busy with the CD Hospital staff, almost eight to ten of them fled again. We have informed the top officials and we have been assured that they will be brought back by Sunday morning.” Dr Shah said these suspects who are the immediate contacts of some of the positive cases couldn’t be sent to home quarantine because it is a huge risk.

The SKIMS

Dr Farooq A Jan (SKIMS)

At SKIMS, Dr Farooq Ahmad Jan, the medical superintendent said of the 11 samples they had taken on Friday, one has turned positive, and all others negative. The man whose results were positive is from Pulwama and has attended the religious gathering in Delhi.

“Today, we have collected five samples and the results will be available on Sunday,” Dr Jan said.

Right now, there are 52 patients admitted in the SKIMS’s quarantine facility and 11 others in the isolation ward. At least two patients were discharged today.

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