Hyderabad: A young IT employee from Mehdipatnam, Hyderabad, who has been working from home since the start of the lockdown and has no international or domestic travel history, has tested positive for COVID-19. This, however, is not a standalone case and proves how vital it is for the Telangana government to test every asymptomatic patient.

Earlier, the state government has issued instructions to district collectors and health officials asking them not to test asymptomatic secondary contacts and instead put them under home quarantine for 28 days and monitor their condition. However, after a spike in COVID patients, reported from districts. The state health department is now testing primary and secondary contacts.

On 10 May, the 30-year-old Pavan (name changed) went to the Sir Ronald Ross Institute of Tropical and Communicable disease at Nallakunta but the doctors saw he was fit and had no COVID symptoms and declared him normal. A medical receipt dated 10 May, in possession of NewsMeter, shows that the doctors at the institute had declared him asymptomatic. “No need for COVID-19 test," reads the receipt.

“I had no fever, cold, cough, or throat pain when I visited the hospital on 10 May. In fact, the doctors thought I was an intruder, who came to clear my doubts, they gave me a receipt that said no test was required since I was asymptomatic. Two days later, I complained of discomfort in my chest and went to the Care Hospital in Banjara hills. The doctors there conducted a high-resolution chest scan and the results revealed that I was COVID-positive," the patient told this correspondent. His hospital bill came up to Rs. 80,000.

In an official statement, Care Hospital said, “The patient approached our outpatient ward on 11 May. He had no COVID-19 symptoms but was complaining of discomfort in his chest. He had done some tests outside the hospital and though he had no reports, he was told it was very likely he was infected with the Corona virus. He came back to our hospital on 13 May and the HRCT showed ground glassing appearance, confirming he was a strong suspect for COVID-19 virus."

He was admitted to the special isolation room at the hospital and his sample was sent for tests the same day. The following day, he tested positive for COVID-19.

Pavan had visited four other hospitals earlier and all four had refused to admit him. “Since the patient was very anxious and had frequent episodes of diarrhea he required the attention of health care providers. He underwent the required tests because of his chest discomfort and had to be evaluated further for underlying causes," the hospital said.

On 14 May, he was moved to Gandhi Hospital. District health officials are perplexed about the source of the virus. He had no travel history, nor was he a primary or secondary contact of any COVID-19 patient. He had been working from home since the lockdown was announced. “Besides visiting supermarkets to purchase groceries, I never ventured out of my house. I am confident I'll recover but I am worried about my aged mother. She is vulnerable to the virus," Pavan said.

The health officials tested five family members of the patient, including his mother, sister, and brother in law. They are awaiting the results.

Coreena Suares

Coreena Enet Suares is the Editor of NewsMeter. Her stories have been published in the Deccan Chronicle Newspaper and the Asian Age. Coreena began her career as a News Anchor. Throughout her journey, she has been able to build a strong network with people from all walks of life. She is an alumnus of Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists- Research and Investigation, a flagship initiative of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) Coreena is also a certified fact-checker by Google India Initiative. She has attended the 'Defence Correspondents Course 2019, through which she visited Indo- Pak border, besides traveling on a War-ship and insight into operations of Fighter aircraft. Coreena's focus areas are anti-crime investigation agencies and Defence reporting.

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