PESHAWAR: With recording five more coronavirus deaths by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Monday, the province largest public sector health facility, Lady Reading Hospital, closed down its gynaecology unit after 29 of its staffers tested positive for Covid-19.

Apart from LRH, management of district headquarters hospital Timergara in Lower Dir ordered to close all OPDs and operation theatres after eight staffers tested positive for the disease.

The daily situation report released by health department said that total number of fatalities reached 185, with three of the new casualties occurred in Peshawar. The provincial capital has now a total of 114 deaths from the virus, the highest by any district in the country.

Case Fatality Rate (CFR) in Pakistan is 2.3per cent and 5.62 per cent in KP, the highest in any province of the country. CFR in Peshawar is 9 per cent.

One each Covid-19 patient passed away in Bannu and Swabi. The province also recorded 159 new Covid-19 cases, making the overall count 3,288 with 70 from Peshawar, the epicentre of the virus with total count of 1,267.

The province has now recorded 856 patients, who have recovered from the infectious ailment as 45 more healed, according to the report. It said that 26 were diagnosed positive for coronavirus in Malakand and 12 each in Bannu and Khyber.

KP records five more Covid-19 deaths, increasing the number to 185

The pandemic is rampant in populous districts of Peshawar, Mardan and Swat with 114, 9 and 14 deaths respectively. The number of active cases in these districts is 1267, 192 and 200, respectively.

The 1750-bed LRH is heading towards complete closure owing to rapid spread of infection among its staffers. On Monday, Prof Abdul Latif Khan, the dean of LRH, informed health secretary that they had decided to close down gynaecology department to ensure safety of staff and patients for two weeks on temporary basis.

He said that of the 68 tests, 29 members of staff of the hospital tested positive for Covid-19 and results of the remaining were awaited.

“We are in the process of screening of all staff and 100 more samples of doctors, nurses and paramedics have been sent to Khyber Medical University for diagnosis. During this period, we will disinfect the gynaecology department using the WHO’s guidelines,” said Prof Latif.

He said that patients with gynecological problems should visit the nearby hospitals for treatment.

LRH is currently home to about 40 coronavirus patients. The hospital has already closed down its elective and OPD services. After closure of gynaecology department, the accident and emergency department will remain the only department of the hospital to stay open and continue services.

Three assistant professors are also among the infected staff at LRH where Covid-19 patents have been admitted in the last stage of the infection.

LRH director Dr Khalid Masud said that the staff at gynaecology department had been sent to quarantine while their relatives and contacts were being screened.

“We appeal to people to practice social distancing as it is the only way to prevent the infection, otherwise, we will end up with all staff infected and there will be no one to treat people when the virus reaches its peak in the coming days,” he said.

LRH has been receiving bulk of Covid-19 patients and nearly 100 deaths have occurred there because patients from the entire province are admitted there.

Khyber Teaching Hospital (KTH) and Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC) have also been shut virtually due to the inflow of Covid-19 possible or positive patients.

HMC director Dr Faisal Shehzad told Dawn that 33 patients had died of Covid-19 while 60 were under-treatment. He said that 19 staffers, including eight doctors, six nurses, three paramedics, one stenographer and one person from accounts section were infected with the virus.

KTH spokesman Farhad Khan said they had recorded 18 fatalities from the pandemic. “KTH has also tested 18 staffers positive so far,” he said.

Dr Rizwan Kundi, president of Young Doctors Association, told Dawn that 94 doctors were infected with virus in the province because they were exposed to the infection.

Our correspondent from Tank adds: The district and sessions judge tested positive for coronavirus on May 3. He has been in self-isolation.

The judicial officers are performing duties in rotation in the district.

Our correspondent from Timergara adds: The management of district headquarters hospital on Monday ordered closure of all OPDs and operation theatres after eight staffers tested positive for Covid-19.

MS Dr Shaukat Ali told Dawn that hospital administration had reopened general OPDs to facilitate patients. He said the OPDs were again closed after detection of positive cases among the staffers. He said that three doctors, one dental surgeon, two operation theatre technicians and one ward attendant were infected with the virus.

Our correspondent from Haripur adds: The first death of Covid-19 patient was recorded in the district on Tuesday.

DHO Dr Saifullah Khalid told Dawn that the patient was admitted to tdistrict headquarters hospital four days ago. He tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday.

His condition worsened on Sunday night and was referred to Ayub Medical Complex Abbottabad where he died on Monday afternoon.

Published in Dawn, May 5th, 2020