Coronavirus outbreak: 11 more Wockhardt nurses test positive

Updated: Apr 18, 2020, 07:22 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon | Mumbai

Tests of 26 staff, including the nurses, returned positive on Thursday; kin slam hospital for treating staff like 'waste paper'

BMC officials put up a COVID-19 notice outside Wockhardt Hospital. Pic/Ashish Raje
BMC officials put up a COVID-19 notice outside Wockhardt Hospital. Pic/Ashish Raje

Yet more nurses at the Wockhardt Hospital in Mumbai Central have tested positive for the Coronavirus. According to the reports of tests done on April 13 and received on Thursday, 11 staff nurses, two doctors and 13 administrative staff have contracted the virus, taking the total count of infected to at least 86.

The nurses had been quarantined after over 60 employees tested positive earlier this month. The nurses have been sent to designated quarantine hospitals, including Seven Hills Hospital and Nanavati Hospital. The development has irked the nurses' families.

The husband of one of the 11 nurses told mid-day, "It is appalling how the families of frontline staff have to suffer. My wife has not come home in 17 days. Her April 3 test returned negative. After being made to work at the hospital, she has tested positive. It is sad that the BMC and Wockhardt Hospital kept healthy people with infected patients."

"Wockhardt hospital had seen over 50 staff testing positive, it was sealed as a Red Zone but the staff continued to work. Some had even pointed out to the administration of the risk of infection as they had shared rooms and beds with colleagues who were tested positive," he added.

"My child who used to sleep with his mother by 9.30-10 pm is awake till 2 am now as he misses his mother. I spoke to my wife, she is strong and is able to fight her ailment. But the hospital could at least have intimated nurses and their kin about the outbreak in advance," he said.

The man explained that his wife had not taken any extra clothes, which some senior nursing staff did in the initial days of the outbreak. Wockhardt Hospital requested families to keep bags of clothes ready at a location from where they were picked up in a bus and given to the staff quarantined at the hospital. "Is it fair to treat your own staff as waste paper? What if the frontline workers refuse to come to work? What will the government do?" he said.

Highly placed sources told mid-day that a senior official and a senior nurse at Wockhardt Hospital have also tested positive and are admitted to facilities in Vile Parle and Mahim respectively. Dr Daksha Shah, deputy executive health officer of the BMC, said, "Yes, some of the earlier quarantined staff, who had tested negative then have tested positive now. They are being treated at designated COVID-19 treatment centres." When asked about the number of cases, Shah said, "I will have to check numbers, before I comment."

Four staffers at Nanavati positive

Meanwhile, at Vile Parle's Nanavati hospital, four staff including a doctor tested positive. A gate meeting outside the casualty ward on the ground floor was organised on Friday afternoon, where the social-distancing protocol went for a toss.

Advocate Godfrey Pimenta, trustee, Watch Dog Foundation, told mid-day, "We have videos that show that the staff called for a gate meeting and social-distancing was not followed. The staff was upset with the treatment given to those who have tested positive. Others who came in contact were neither tested nor quarantined." "We have taken up the matter with the civic chief and local ward office," Pimenta added.

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