COVID-19: 'Oxymeters used are not being sanitised,' says Thane-based activist

Updated: Jul 14, 2020, 07:56 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav | Mumbai

Thane-based activist applauds municipal corporation's drive of door-to-door screenings, but alleges that those involved in conducting them are not cleaning equipment or even wearing gloves

Rohit Joshi has also alleged that oxymeters are not sanitised after use
Rohit Joshi has also alleged that oxymeters are not sanitised after use

As cases of COVID-19 rise in Thane, the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) has sped up the process to trace those who are positive, and started door-to-door visits for check-ups. A Thane-based activist has welcomed the move, but alleged that basic care like cleaning the pulse oxymeters is not being taken after every check, and those doing the check-ups are not wearing gloves."

Thane-based environmentalist and activist, Rohit Joshi, has pointed out that the TMC teams doing the door-to-door screenings don't follow basic rules of safety while testing. Talking to mid-day, Joshi said, "I am happy that they have ramped up testing in Thane municipal limits, but I personally feel that they should sanitise oxymeters while testing every person. This is not happening. Also, the team members screening people don't wear hand gloves, which is not just risky for the person conducting the test, but also for people who are being screened.

Joshi has posted pictures on Facebook of an elderly person's screening, where one can see that the TMC team member doing the check-up is wearing a mask but not hand gloves.

According to Joshi, TMC has started screening in Naupada-Kopri area where the number of cases are seeing an increase. With the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai and Mumbai Metropolitan Region, many posh housing societies and private offices are giving importance to screening people using IR thermometers and oxymeters, and have kept sanitisers at the entrance of the premises for visitors' use.

TMC ward officer Naupada-Kopri, Pranil Ghonge, when asked about the allegations, said, "We have ramped up the screening for COVID-19 in our ward and multiple teams are visiting door-to-door and checking people for symptoms using IR thermometer and oxymeters. Instructions have been given to the team members that the finger of the person should be cleaned before and after the reading using sanitisers provided to the team." Ghonge also pointed out that sanitising an oxymeter frequently could damage it, hence these instructions have been given.

When it was brought to her notice that at some places in Naupada-Kopri, as alleged by Joshi, TMC teams are not using sanitisers provided to them, she said, "If at all this is happening then we will re-instruct the team members and brief them about the importance of sanitisation."

According to TMC data about COVID-19, as of July12, in Thane municipal limits, there were 13,342 confirmed cases, 5,724 active cases while 7,129 people have been discharged after recovery and there were 489 deaths. The percentage of discharged cases is 53.43% and percentage of positive cases out of total tests done is 22.07%.

Naupada-Kopri ward has the highest number of cases at 2,249 and the lowest is in Diva ward with 556. In Naupada-Kopri 1,164 of those cases are admitted to hospitals, while 1,010 were discharged and 75 deaths recorded.

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