Mumbai: The Wockhardt Hospital in Mumbai has been declared a containment zone by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) after as many as 26 nurses and three doctors tested positive for COVID-19 in a span of one week.
The administration has barred the entry to and exit from the hospital until all the patients test negative twice consecutively, a civic official told The Times of India.
"It is unfortunate that such a big cluster of cases have come from a medical facility. They should have taken precautions," said Suresh Kakani, the Additional Municipal Commissioner, adding that a team led by the executive health officer has been set up to probe how the coronavirus spread among so many in a hospital setting.
While the nurses who tested positive for COVID-19 have been shifted to the hospital from their quarters in Vile Parle, two of the infected doctors are admitted in SevenHills and one in SL Raheja Hospital, Mahim. Swab samples of more than 270 hospital staff and some patients have been sent for tests.
Meanwhile, the hospital's canteen remains functional and will provide food to the staff and patients, but an officer and two constables have been posted to restrict movements, said senior inspector Savalaram Agawane of Agripada police station.
The Wockhardt Hospital alone has reported 30 cases, which is more than many city wards and according to the data, only G-South and D wards have over 30 cases.
The hospital management didn't comment on why and how so many among staff tested positive, the TOI report added.
"Our OPD and emergency services are shut and there will be no admissions," said a spokesperson, who did not comment further.
The source of the infection has been traced to a 70-year-old heart attack patient, who was tested positive for coronavirus on March 27. Soon after, two nurses who had attended to the elderly patient, too, tested positive, following which several nurses began testing positive.
The Hospital staff have alleged that the infection spread rapidly as the management failed to quarantine the colleagues and roommates of the infected nurses. The United Nurses' Association said they were not tested or removed from shifts till symptoms emerged, and were not given PPEs despite attending to suspected Covid-19 patients.
The hospital has however denied the charges.
"The hospital has not given nurses access to their own test reports. Many who were in quarantine in hostel or other wards have been moved to the Covid ward. Some who were caring for the quarantined nurses have been admitted to the Covidward," said the UNA and Jan Swasthya Abhiyan in a combined letter, claiming that both the COVID-19 wards of the hospital are full.
Both the UNA and JSA have demanded a series of measures, including not putting pregnant nurses on COVID-19 duty.