Over 750 doctors, health workers of Bihar's 6 leading hospitals infected in second wave

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(Eds: Adding detail, minister's comment) Patna, Apr 22 (PTI) More than 750 doctors and health workers of six prominent government hospitals of Bihar have been infected with coronavirus during the ongoing second wave, causing worry for the state government.

Reports of doctors and staff falling prey to the infection came from three prominent hospitals of Patna-AIIMS, Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) and Nalanda Medical College and Hospital (NMCH)- besides Sri Krishna Medical College, Muzaffarpur,Jawahar Lal Nehru Medical College and Hospital, Bhagalpur and Anugrah Narayan Magadh Medical College & Hospital, Gaya.

Altogether, 384 employees of AIIMS Patna, including doctors, nurses, sanitation workers, have been infected during the second wave so far, its Medical Superintendent C M Singh has said.

PMCH Superintendent Dr Indu Sekhar Thakur said more than 125 of its employees have tested positive so far.

He said the list includes 70 doctors and over 55 nurses and other health workers.

NMCH COVID nodal officer Mukul Kumar Singh said around 100 doctors, nurses and other staff have tested positive during the current second wave.

Heads of SKMCH,JLNMCH Bhagalpur and ANMMCH Gaya said around 50 doctors and paramedical staff each have caught the contagion during the latest surge of coronavirus cases.

Bihar Health minister Mangal Pandey told PTI Thursday that infections to so many doctors and health staff in the leading hospitals is a cause of worry for the state.

'They are treated on a priority basis in the hospitals they belong to,' Pandey told PTI.

Hailing commitment of the health workers in fighting the COVID surge, the minister said many of them are returning to work after recovering from the disease.

Bihar is witnessing sharp rise in coronavirus cases during second wave of the infection.

According to Thursday health bulletin, 11,480 fresh COVID cases were reported from across the state, taking the tally to 3,65,770.

With 59 new fatalities, the death toll has risen to 1956 in the state.

There are 69,868 active cases in Bihar at present.

The PMCH superintendent said that the hospital authorities have arranged separate isolation spaces for its infected employees.

PMCH, the century-old premier hospital of Bihar, has a facility of around 105 beds for COVID patients barring its staff and all are occupied at present, Thakur said.

AIIMS Patna has expanded its bed capacity to 250 and all the beds are occupied.

The PMCH superintendent said that due to the infection of many staffers, the hospital is facing a manpower shortage.

'But since leave of all the staff has been cancelled, we are managing the functioning of the COVID wards,' he said.

The Bihar chapter of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has published a list of 40 doctors across the state with their phone numbers for assistance to the needy.

'Our doctors are providing treatment over the phone to patients who are primarily in home isolation,' its state president Dr Shahjanand Singh said.

Singh, a surgeon, is himself on the list of doctors helping the needy during the crisis.

The IMA Bihar chief said these doctors are available over the phone from 10 am-12 noon and 4-6 pm. PTI ANW SNS ACD SNS SNS