21 including hospital, education department staff test positive

Written by Chahat Rana
| Chandigarh |

Published: July 7, 2020 9:26:31 am

City records significant single-day spike in cases as compared to an average of 5-6 cases a day over the past few weeks; it now has 80 active cases. (Representational)

A total of 21 residents of Chandigarh, including at least three healthcare workers and four employees of the UT Education department, tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Monday.

It is one of the highest single-day spike in COVID-19 cases in the UT recently, as compared to an average 5-6 cases reported every day in the past few weeks. The tally of Covid-19 patients in the city now stands at 487, with 80 active cases at present.

9 Education department employees have tested positive till now

Since Friday, when the first employee from the Education department office in Sector 9’s UT Secretariat Building tested positive for the disease, at least nine employees have been diagnosed with COVID-19, four of whom tested positive on Monday.

A total of 12 employees were sampled, of which nine tested positive. The administration has taken samples of 20 more contacts from the office. The four who tested positive Monday are a 34-year-old woman from Daddu Majra colony, a 37-year-old man from Behlana, a 25-year-old man from Sector 20 and a 44-year-old woman from Sector 40.

At least two of these patients are asymptomatic, while the others have mild symptoms.

Citing negligence on part of the department, an employee, under the condition of anonymity, said that as the authorities forced all the staff members to work out of the office, it allowed for the disease to spread rapidly across the department.

“There was no need to call the whole department. It is just a way to show how hard the administration is working. The official policy was now to call only 50 per cent to office at a time, but it had a loophole as per which the head of departments could call the whole staff, and that policy was exploited,” says the employee.

The Education department official adds that since the entire staff had to come in to work everyday and exist in close proximity, social distancing was next to impossible.

“You should see how close all our tables are, there is no distancing!” says the official.

The first floor of the Sector 9 Secretariat Building has now been sealed, however, staffers believe that the whole building should have ideally been sealed promptly.

“Files and people travel from floor to floor. The administration should have been pro-active, and close down the whole building as soon as the first few cases came,” says an employee who has also been sampled for the disease.

Three Healthcare workers test positive

As many as three healthcare employees, including a nurse who was on COVID duty at PGIMER, a hospital attendant from GMCH-32, and a cardiologist from GMCH-32, tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday.

The two staffers from GMCH-32 are direct contacts of a nursing officer from GMCH 32, who was diagnosed with the disease earlier. At least three of the active cases in the city currently are GMCH staffers.

The nursing officer from PGIMER is a 30-year-old woman who was staying on the hospital campus. She was posted on duty in the COVID ward in Nehru Hospital Extension Block between June 20 and 27, after which she was tested for the disease.

The woman was in isolation when she was tested and is asymptomatic. She says, she had been wearing proper protective gear and took all necessary precautions while on duty, however, still got infected with the virus.

The attendant from GMCH-32 is a 40-year-old resident of Daria village, while the 48-year-old cardiologist is a resident of Sector 32.

“At least seven contacts of the healthcare workers were tested and their results deemed them positive. They have been quarantined for a period of two weeks now,” says Dr BS Chavan, Director Principal for GMCH 32.

Delay in reporting COVID-19 cases by admin

At least three of the patients reported in the daily COVID-19 bulletin provided by the Chandigarh administration, tested positive a day before their names were included in the bulletin.

The nursing staff member from PGIMER tested positive for the disease on Saturday, while at least two of the Education department staffers tested positive for the disease on Sunday, yet all three of the names were included in the bulletin issued by the administration on Monday, and were not promptly reported either on Saturday or Sunday.

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