Hyderabad: Over 34 patients tested positive for Covid-19 at Erragadda Mental Hospital this week. Ten staff members of the same hospital tested positive in the past weeks.

Among the 34 patients who tested positive, 25 patients were in the closed ward of the hospital while three patients were in the semi-closed ward and the remaining six patients in the forensic ward.

“The patients were inside the hospital and they did not go outside. The staff were coming from outside and attending them. Even if we consider that the patients could have been infected by the staff, neither the staff nor their family members had shown any symptoms,” said Dr M. Uma Shankar, superintendent of Erragadda Mental Hospital.

Six of the patients in the forensic ward, who tested positive, have been sent to Gandhi Hospital.

So far, among the staff, one doctor, one resident doctor, four nurses, three ward boys and a barber tested positive for Covid in the hospital. “The staff got infected 3-4 weeks back and we have taken necessary precautions after that. Due to the asymptomatic nature of the virus, it is becoming difficult for us to identify the COVID positive patients in the initial stages,” said Dr M. Uma Shankar.

The hospital is maintaining a separate ward for COVID patients. “We are taking utmost precautions. Any new inmate is first asked to quarantine and then being shifted to the wards. Proper sanitisation and hygiene are being followed regularly, food is also provided within wards. There is only one entrance and only after taking permission from a nurse, people are allowed to enter the isolation ward. The staff is not allowing anyone to enter the ward without PPE and protection kits,” the superintendent said.

After finding symptoms in a few of the patients at the hospital, the authorities requested for the screening of these patients at the hospital. From August 13, the hospital has started doing the mass screening. Every day, around 70 people are being screened, including patients and staff. Till now, over 200 people have been screened at the hospital.

Sumit Kumar Jha

Sumit Kumar Jha is currently a multimedia journalist with Newsmeter. An alumnus of Hyderabad Central University and Amity University, he has interned with The New Indian Express and CGNet Swara. Sumit has also worked with video production houses in Mumbai as an assistant director in shows like 21 Sarfrosh for Discovery Jeet. He is specialised in Video Production. He was also the contributor at PARI network. Hailing from rural Bihar has spent his childhood shifting from places and people. Growing up he felt the need to document the lives and dreams of rural India. A lover of visual storytelling goes around the cities to search for Stories. He primarily reports on civic, human interest and data stories.

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