Cause of worry: Over 360 healthcare workers from 31 hospitals test +ve
New Delhi: There are more than 360 healthcare workers from 31 hospitals in Delhi who have been tested positive of the virus so far. This means that every 14th positive case of Delhi is a healthcare worker.
On Wednesday, an assistant professor from Hindu Rao hospital working in preventive social medicine department tested positive. Meanwhile, a senior resident doctor of ENT department at Aruna Asif Ali Hospital was tested positive fpr Coronavirus. People who came in contact with the resident doctor have been asked to quarantine themselves.
Speaking about the issue Dr. Sonali Vaid, public health professional said that the issue of rising cases among medical workers is not just limited to PPE. "We need to protect healthcare workers and doctors, which takes a lot more than PPE, and includes things like ventilation and patient flow," she said.
According to a doctor at a state hospital, they are interacting with hundreds of patients almost everyday. "I am at a non-covid ward, and am checking patients with other ailments. It is still exposing me to the risk because of the interaction," said the doctor. These healthcare workers are not given adequate protection keeping them exposed.
On the other hand, if many doctors at a covid ward are interacting with one patient, it will create issues. "If you do business as usual you will have perhaps 100 or more health workers interacting with a given patient over the course of 24 hours, which will not work in a pandemic situation. A lot about how we work in hospitals needs to change to make them safer for patients and staff," said Dr. Vaid.
Most of the healthcare workers that have been tested positive were not in covid wards. However, due to lack of safety they were exposed to the virus. On the other hand, patients visiting the hospitals to get regular check-ups are also catching virus. According to a medical officer, a lot of people were exposed to the virus inside the hospital. "We cannot neglect hospitals and areas where non-covid patients are seen," added Dr. Vaid.
While, doctors have complained about the lack of PPEs and N95 masks, the government has assured that the safety equipment is reaching the doctors. But the issue is that even if enough PPE kits are being procured, they are not reaching the healthcare workers. "We have been taking masks and PPE from NGOs and at individual capacity, because there is shortage of that. We are going back home to people and if we become a carrier there is going to be a problem," said a resident doctor at Safdarjung.
Dr. Vaid said that there is no proper utilization of PPEs that is available.
Meanwhile, doctors from Gurugram and Faridabad are not being allowed to travel for work, "Central government workers can travel, but not doctors. There is already a shortage of staff at the hospital, how will the staff manage," said a source from the medical fraternity.