Exclusive flights for negative expats; no separate ambulances for quarantined

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THRISSUR: While the state government insists on separate flights for bringing back expatriates who have tested positive for Covid-19, the ground realities of the state’s own preparedness are different. For instance, four persons placed under quarantine were taken to Irinjalakuda Taluk Hospital by the authorities for collecting their swab samples in one ambulance last week. And one of them tested positive for the infection and the other three now have the chances of contracting the virus.

The four were originally the primary contacts of a health worker of the Porathisserry Primary Health Centre who tested positive. The three others who travelled with the person who tested positive now face the prospects of being quarantined for another two weeks. Moreover, they have become the primary contacts of this person too. The incident is an eye opener in many respects. First, as per the current standard operating procedure, if three people belong to a family, they can be taken together in one ambulance for testing, said Dr Minimol, Taluk Hospital superintendent, when TNIE contacted her.

“These four persons were brought in the same vehicle because of the shortage of ambulances. Since they were unrelated, they were brought together after getting the permission of the district medical office,” she added. The hospital has only three 108 ambulances and the authorities find it difficult to bring people for testing each day separately as the number of quarantined people has seen a huge spike. “If only a couple of people were brought for collecting their swab samples earlier, the hospital has to collect the samples of 40-60 people in a day now. This exigency pushes the authorities to the edge,” Dr Minimol said.

“The persons who have to be brought in for sample collection on an appointed date may be quarantined at different places. We find it difficult to bring all of them during the day and there have been instances of postponing the collection dates. Only these three ambulances can be pressed into service for the two-way trip of the each primary contact of a positive case, which takes a lot of time.” She said.

Another medical officer said things are going to get worse in the following days with number of people being quarantined going up everyday. “People should restrict themselves while going out and take all safety precautions like maintaining social distancing, wearing masks and washing hands frequent to avoid the infection. Otherwise, things would go out of hand in the coming days. Before blaming the system, it is also imperative to comply with the rules and regulations,” the officer said.

Thrissur’s stats 
147People under treatment (the second highest in the state after Malappuram)

12,585 Total people under quarantine

12,390 People in institutional/home quarantine

195 People under observation in hospitals

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