In Bengaluru’s Shivajinagar, 11 secondary contacts of a hospital staff tested positive for SARS-Cov-2 on Friday morning. The Karnataka Health Department said that the 11 patients were contacts of patient 653, a 34-year-old housekeeping staff at Shifa Hospital in the city.
Shifa Hospital was one of the first responder hospitals for COVID-19 cases that the government of Karnataka had approved in March this year. However on April 3, a resident of Hosahalli in Bengaluru South, a 42-year-old man with Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI), visited Shifa Hospital located on Queen’s Road in Bengaluru after he had trouble breathing.
Here, he visited the outpatient department, where a DNB (Diplomate In National Board) final year student treated him. He prescribed medicines to the SARI patient and sent him home. On April 4, the SARI patient tested positive for the coronavirus.
On April 9, the 35-year-old student doctor who had tested the SARI patient began showing symptoms. He and two of his colleagues went to Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases to get tested for SARS-Cov-2. On April 12, the doctor tested positive for the virus.
“Patient 196 went to Shifa Hospital as he had symptoms but he had no travel history abroad. In early April, we were still testing primary and secondary contacts along with those with travel history. We were also testing high risk categories like SARI patients. Since this doctor was a student, he says he was unaware of it being mandatory to report SARI cases to the government,” said BBMP South Zone Health Officer Dr Shivakumar.
Soon after P196 tested positive, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike officials had shut the hospital and had begun tracing contacts of the SARI patient. Soon after the doctor tested positive, the BBMP officials began tracing contacts of the doctor and all the staff on duty were quarantined.
On April 22, a nurse, who was on duty at the outpatient department at Shifa Hospital tested positive for SARS-Cov-2.
On May 5, one of the housekeeping staff, a 34-year-old man otherwise known as P653, who was a contact of the nurse, tested positive for the novel coronavirus. A blue collar worker, P653 was earning negligible pay and was living in an over-crowded building in Bengaluru’s Shivajinagar.
“It was a four-storey building. In one building 73 people were living. All of them are from a low income background. Since the rents were high, they were sharing the space,” said BBMP East Zone Health Officer, Dr Siddappaji.
On May 5, after P653 tested positive, 73 people living in the building were quarantined. Of these, 12 were primary contacts and the rest were secondary contacts. So far, 22 swab samples have been tested. Of these, 11 secondary contacts of the patient tested positive. The 13 primary contacts tested negative, Dr Siddappaji added.
On May 6, the BBMP sealed Chandni Chowk, where P653’s home is located. People living in over 100 homes in Chandni Chowk have been maintaining home quarantine since May 6.