8 healthcare staff at JJ & TB hospital test positive
8 healthcare staff at JJ & TB hospital test positive

Mumbai: Eight employees of the Sir Jamshedji Jeejeebhoy (JJ) and Tuberculosis Hospitals tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday.

Following this development, more than 40 swab samples of staffers at both places have been sent for testing and have been quarantined at respective hospitals.

As per JJ Hospital sources, two staffers at the hospital are infected and have been isolated at St George Hospital for treatment. “There is no isolation ward at JJ, therefore, corona-positive patients have been admitted to St George's. Samples from 20 staff have been taken for testing,” the source said.

However, the hospital dean has denied that any positive case has been reported. Dr Lalit Anande, medical superintendent of the TB Hospital at Sewri, said currently they have eight Covid patients, of whom six are new and their reports came in on Thursday morning.

“Six ward boys, one doctor and a nurse are undergoing treatment. The nurse who tested positive may have possibly contracted the infection from Worli, as she stays there. We are also tracing their contact,” he said.

Meanwhile, 19 student nurses at the Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General (Sion) Hospital have tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday. It is the first civic hospital in which the highest number of healthcare staff has been affected.

One of the nursing students who has been quarantined after coming in contact with infected patients has alleged that they were not informed about Covid patients having been admitted in the general ward of the hospital and were asked to handle those patients.

“Some of our nurses are deployed at SevenHills Hospital where they were isolated after having been infected. Most of us were not given adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) and others were kept in the dark about their treating Covid-19 patients,” she alleged.

In letters sent to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), second- and third-year students said they were given just three hours of training in Borivali before being deputed to Covid-19 treatment facilities.

They are only being paid a measly stipend of Rs 540 a month, despite the high-risk nature of their job, and when they protested against their working conditions, they were threatened with expulsion from their institutes, the students claimed.

Pointing at the abysmal safety measures, another student said she was asked to figure out a place to quarantine herself after recovering from Covid-19 and was accommodated in a hostel room only after she protested.

A student from the Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital and Medical College said their course entailed having to work in the hospital, with the BMC taking care of their food and accommodation.

“When the virus outbreak happened, we applied for leave, but were told that since we were being fed for free, we obliged to work in this time of emergency,” said the student. Another student at the BYL Nair Hospital and TN Medical College said they were forced into signing consent forms before being deputed to work.

Through their letters, students have asked to be rescued from such coercion. Dr Ramesh Bharmal, dean of Nair Hospital and director of major civic hospitals, confirmed that second- and third-year nursing students have been roped in, but asserted that they are being taken care of. “We have put them up at hotels and are serving them good quality food.”

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