LAHORE: A man tested positive for the virus has reportedly infected 27 others in Gujrat district, in yet another incidence of mishandling of confirmed Covid-19 patients and of increasing local transmission in Punjab.
In a related development, panic-stricken doctors of the Shaikh Zayed Hospital Lahore’s gynae ward withdrew their services after a pregnant woman who underwent C-Section at the facility on Thursday tested positive for the virus on Friday night.
The situation created further anxiety among the doctors and paramedics in the hospital when they came to know that the woman’s husband who was accompanying her was also a patient of Covid-19 and that test reports of another suspected patient under treatment at the hospital for the last five days showed he was positive for the virus.
The infected woman and newborn have been isolated at the Services Hospital where the doctors also sent swabs of the one-day-old baby for diagnosis.
In Gujrat the tally of confirmed Covid-19 patients jumped to 51 after 27 new patients were reported on Saturday, an official told Dawn.
Shaikh Zayed gynae unit doctors boycott duty after woman tests positive for virus
Initially, he said, only four patients had tested positive for the virus in the district (in Sara-i-Alamgir, Dinga and Shadiwal) who all had foreign travel history.
The health authorities were alarmed to find that one of these four patients had contacted at least 40 people,the official said, adding the officials had sent their samples for tests and out of them 27 turned out to be Covid-19 patients. After the confirmation, they all were isolated either at their homes, or the nearby hospitals, he said.
Given the worrying situation, the government has launched a high-level probe into the spread of virus in Gujrat directing the deputy commissioner to supervise its process.
About Shaikh Zayed Hospital situation, head of the gynae unit, Prof Dr Mohammad Ikran said the pregnant woman first visited the hospital in the morning on Thursday last and met an associate professor who was attending her as a private patient.
He said the gyne unit doctors were alarmed when the woman told them that her husband had recently returned from Iran.
Though the on-duty doctors sent her back, the official said the woman revisited the gyne ward in the evening the same day with severe labour pains and was immediately admitted by doctors given her condition. The woman underwent C Section and delivered the baby, he added.
Meanwhile, the doctors brought the matter to the notice of the hospital’s administration which sent swabs of the patient for tests that turned out to be positive, Dr Ikram said.
Initially, he said, five medics were traced who remained in direct contact with the patient and her husband, adding that they had been quarantined at their residences.
To a question, Prof Ikram said it was perplexing for the treating medics that the woman showed no symptoms of coronavirus.
He said direction had been issued to trace the other staffers of unit who had been in contact with the woman or her husband, adding that the panic-stricken doctors said they would not resume duties until they were provided with protective kits.
About the other male patient who tested positive for the virus, Dr Ikram said initial inquiry unveiled that he first visited the emergency ward of the hospital where doctors provided him initial treatment and then referred him to the rheumatology department from where he was sent to the medical unit for admission.
During his stay at the hospital, Dr Ikram said, the patient might have contacted several people, including medics, staff nurses, paramedics, security guards etc. exposing them to the virus.
The focal person for coronavirus patients and deputy administrator of the SZH, Dr Ajmal Tahir, said the two patients who tested positive for the virus were isolated at the Mayo Hospital and Services Hospital, respectively.
About the medics’ complaints of not being provided protection gear, he claimed the institute had purchased 4,000 PPEs and these were being provided to the medics as per the set protocol.
Published in Dawn, March 29th, 2020