‘Great caution be applied to avert hospital closure’

Morung Express News
Dimapur | August 13

Is the virus out and now in the community? This is a question that would be on everyone’s mind, currently. 

The state government has maintained there is no community spread yet, but positive cases popping up in unlikely places and fatalities with no known travel history or contact with probable suspects has tossed up quizzical thoughts. 

With the government tightlipped and with no conclusive data, as far as the degree of spread is concerned, it is left to interpretations.

According to a medical front-liner in Dimapur, “There is a degree of localised spread. At what stage, one cannot tell for sure (unless supported by epidemiological data). But (unrestrained) local transmissions evolve into community spread.” 

But more than the stage of transmission, he said that the question is the source of spread. The first confirmed cases were reported from the quarantine centres (QC) but he held that he would not worry much about the quarantines “because they are already contained/isolated.”

Aside from the QCs, he said that his analysis also takes into consideration the likelihood of health care centres becoming unintended points of exposure. Alarmist and grim as it may sound, he said that his observation is based on the COVID-19 related deaths reported by the government in Dimapur over the past two-three weeks. 

The doctor, who wished to be anonymous, maintained that his premise is based on factoring a common trait observed in all the fatalities— multiple hospital visits and no known travel history. 

“They had diabetes, stroke, kidney and heart issues, no travel history and visited different hospitals before testing positive. That is a common history observed in all the fatalities so far,” he said. 

He added, “I can say this with a certain degree of conviction because I am working in the catchment area. I know from where the positive cases are coming,” he said, while adding that great caution should be applied to avert closure of hospitals. 

According to him, quite a few staffers of the hospitals tested positive in the contact tracing related to the fatalities. 

“If you ask me, where is the point source of infection? As per my analysis, health care establishments happen to be a point source of infection. In the COVID hospital also, we have frontline workers down: ambulance disinfecting team, mess team and sweepers.”

Further, he said that medical workers coming into contact with other front line workers outside of hospitals could also become unintended exposure points. He cited one such case, wherein a doctor of a hospital in Dimapur tested positive.

In this case, he said that the doctor had a history of contact with a family member, a non-medical front-line worker, who tested positive. 

Another point to ponder is the likelihood of transmission from travel, especially casual travel. However, he said that travel cannot be avoided if the purpose is unavoidable.