Covid-19 protocol gone for a toss?

Even as frontline officials impacted, District Administration observes studied silence | 75 fresh cases in district, tally 1,173

Covid-19 protocol gone for a toss?

Health team collects the swab of a patient in Jalandhar. Tribune Photo: Malkiat Singh

Aparna Banerji
Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, July 11

A total of 75 persons, including a secretary of the Regional Transport Authority, Jalandhar, tested positive for Covid-19 on Saturday, taking the district tally to 1,173.

Of the 75 who tested positive on Saturday, 14 are employees of the Mehatpur police station and six from ITBP, Sarai Khas. Barring this, there have been two deaths in Jalandhar — a 58-year-old man from Raipur Rasoolpur and another of Gandhi Nagar in Jalandhar. With this, the district death tally has risen to 25. There has been a spike in cases from Nakodar and Shahkot as well.

Rapid testing introduced again

The second phase of rapid testing, along with already carried out RT-PCR tests, has been started again in the district. Of the 72 sampled through rapid tests on Saturday, 12 persons tested positive, the DC said.

However, with various senior district officials testing positive, neither the Health Department, nor the district administration seem to be addressing the elephant in the room – the fear of community spread among frontline workers and senior bureaucracy in the district.

Hoshiarpur tally 198

Hoshiarpur: A PCS officer posted as RTA secretary in Jalandhar was found to be Covid-19 positive on Saturday. Dr Jasbir Singh, Civil Surgeon of Hoshiarpur said the 56-year-old PCS officer is a resident of Hoshiarpur. He said the number of active cases in the district is 10 and the number of people recovered from the coronavirus is 181. With 467 new samples of patients with flu-like symptoms collected in the district on Saturday, the total number of samples collected in the district has increased to 17,208 so far. The total number of positive cases in the district has increased to 198 and 30 samples have been found invalid. OC

A civil judge, an SSP, RTA and an SDM are among those tested positive recently in the district. While these officials attended several meetings and events, in which key officials from the Mayor to DC, MP and MLAs were present, there has been no formal acknowledgement of any zone being recognised as a hotspot in view of the recent results. There is also no official word on those being put under quarantine as a precautionary measure so far.

In the past, when the employees of a vernacular or private hospital tested positive, intensive testing of employees who came in contact with them was held. However, in this case, no formal declaration is being made of on the number of contacts, who have either been placed under quarantine or whose samples have been taken. Sources said those who called up the health authorities for testing include several key officials of the district, who had been in close contact with or have attended meetings with the officials tested positive.

A senior district official said: “Many officials are calling the Health Department for testing, but they want it to be clandestine. Several officials’ samples have already been taken. Others have requested sampling. Some are also calling to know the status reports of their samples which have been tested.”

Due procedure being followed, says DC

We are carrying out intensive tests of co-morbid people in the district. More than 4 lakh people have already been tested. Offices of all those officials who tested positive will be sealed for minimum 48 hours. Sanitation will also be carried out on those premises. As per information, the RTA’s source of infection doesn't seem to be at the DAC complex in Jalandhar, as he attended a meeting in Chandigarh. However, as a precaution, we are issuing instructions to disallow everyone coming to the DAC complex to present memorandums. People shall do it via email. Besides, we are restricting work at the DAC complex to very urgent dealings only. Important signatures shall also be made via stamps or electronic signatures. SOPs regarding this shall also be released shortly in the district. Ghansyam Das Thori, DC