Coronavirus outbreak: 31 nurses, 5 doctors test positive at Jaslok Hospital

Updated: Apr 19, 2020, 07:08 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon | Mumbai

All of them, says the hospital spokesperson, had tested negative earlier this month; they remain asymptomatic and have been kept in quarantine

People crowd at a grocery shop at Pipe Road in Kurla West to pick up provisions on Saturday. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
People crowd at a grocery shop at Pipe Road in Kurla West to pick up provisions on Saturday. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

Latest reports show that 31 nurses and five doctors from Peddar Road's Jaslok Hospital have tested positive for COVID-19. These nurses had been kept in quarantine at the hospital's Ballard Pier hostel. Though the nurses have tested positive, they are all asymptomatic. However, their health is being monitored. The five doctors include a registrar of medicine, a registrar of pulmonology, senior anaesthetist, a junior anaesthetist and a junior radiologist.

Hospital sources told mid-day that when a positive case was reported in the hospital earlier this month, over 100 of the nursing staff were kept in quarantine at the hostel. Most of the staff had tested negative and so were on compulsory 14 days of quarantine.

"The hospital was working with a handful of nursing staff, who had to thus, put in long working hours. Because the management planned to call the remaining staff back to work from Monday [April 20], they had to undergo a mandatory second test. The results of these came on Friday," said a staff from the hospital.

On Saturday morning, a 72-year-old patient at the hospital who had tested positive for COVID-19 and was subsequently put on ventilator support, passed away
On Saturday morning, a 72-year-old patient at the hospital who had tested positive for COVID-19 and was subsequently put on ventilator support, passed away

A source in the hospital added, "On Saturday morning, a 72-year-old patient, who was initially treated for a respiratory issue, and later admitted in the ICU on the 12 th floor passed away. He had tested positive for COVID-19 and was subsequently put on ventilator support."

At present, the hospital has a four-bed special COVID ward and an eight-bed ICU on the 12thfloor. Apart from a radiologist, one more doctor from the hospital has been admitted to the ICU, due to shortage of bed in the COVID ward, along with an anaesthetist. The seven COVID patients in the ICU and four in the ward are recuperating. The eight-bed ICU has three ventilators.

The hospital's nursing staff said that they still hadn't received copies of their reports. "This has irked some of the nursing staff, as they have been getting frantic calls from their families, as majority of the staff nurses are from Kerala.

Some staff are former students of the Jaslok College of Nursing, and say they have not been shown their reports,"

said a staffer, adding, "On Friday, we were given a computerised list of names of staff [who had tested positive]. No reports were handed over. Those who tested positive were advised to continue staying in the hostel, with an extended stay of the quarantine period," another staffer added.

"Also due to shortage of staff, some nurses who had tested negative and were asymptomatic, were called for duty after completing only eight days of quarantine, instead of the mandatory 14 days," alleged a staffer.

A Jaslok hospital spokesperson said, "We had quarantined some of the nurses two weeks ago strictly at the Peregrine Hostel when one nurse tested positive. All of them were tested subsequently and were negative. However, after the 14 days period, the tests were conducted again before they resumed work and, to our surprise, some have tested positive, allthough all of them are asymptomatic."

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