Lucknow: Manjula Devi (name changed), a staff nurse at the King George’s Medical University (KGMU) in Lucknow, had to stay put in the waiting hall of the surgical department for more than 24 hours to get a bed at the COVID-19 care hospital in the same university, after she tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
According to Manjula, she contracted the infection while treating an infected patient. Wailing, she said that “the unfortunate part is not being able to find a bed at the hospital even after serving this university for so long. The situation is getting grim and even doctors are now clueless on how to adjust the rising number of patients in the hospitals.”
Manjula, the mother of a five-year-old child, had attented to COVID-19 patients from July 1 to July 14. Her husband, Vivek Kumar, levelled allegations against the KGMU administration, saying that the hospital “was not even testing her. Finding a bed for her became a herculean task for all of us. We are scared that my child and I may also contract the virus,” he added.
According to the government of Uttar Pradesh, the state has been conducting close to 48,000 COVID-19 tests on a daily basis at the moment.
KGMU spokesperson Dr. Sudhir Kumar told NewsClick over the phone that there was no delay in admitting patients. “There was some ongoing work in the ward so she had to wait. All the patients have now been shifted to the ward,” he added.
“The rising number of cases has resulted in a situation where staff members are not getting beds. This is very worrying. We request that our front-line workers be given attention and the best care if they test positive,” said KGMU employee association president Pradip Gangwar.
According to Amit Mohan Prasad, the Health Secretary of the Uttar Pradesh government, 2,061 COVID-19 cases were diagnosed on Thursday. There are 15,723 active cases with the total number of cases at 43444, he said, adding that the number of people who have been discharged in the state was 26,675.
Over 40 Staffers of KGMU are COVID-19 Positive
The number of infected medical staffers at KGMU has now crossed 40. The first case of COVID-19 at the facility was when a junior resident was found positive. Since then, about 44 people at the medical university have been found infected.
Notably, at least 70 medical professionals (including nurses and hospital staff) have tested positive for COVID-19 and three doctors have succumbed to the virus in Lucknow.
A KGMU doctor said that the virus spread from the COVID-19 ward to the clinical side and then to the “administrative wing as a staff member from the registrar office also tested positive.” The cases at KGMU have been reported from various departments like radiology, dentistry, and others.
“We are concerned and are looking at how we can control the virus from spreading among members of our healthcare staff,” said Prof S.N/ Sankhwar, chief medical superintendent of KGMU. The president of KGMU employees association on Thursday wrote to the V-C’s office to ensure that staff members were given adequate treatment facilities.
With 2,061 COVID-19 cases, Lucknow, the state capital of most populated state in India, has also emerged as a hub of such cases. As per the official figures from the Lucknow administration, the total number of contamination zones in the city are at 308 – these zones will be observing a complete lockdown on Saturday and Sunday, till the chain is break.
Dire Conditions in Barabanki and Gorakhpur
A ward boy who was found COVID-19 positive and had been working at a state-run hospital, posted a video on social media on Thursday, exposing the pathetic condition of an L1 private hospital acquired by the government.
The ward boy tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday. “I have been here for 16 hours and no staff member has come to see me... Others have told me that the isolation ward has not even been disinfected for six days. Is it just my duty to serve the country," he said in the video.
In the three-minute-long video, he alleged, "I conducted sampling on ten occasions and got a PPE (personal protective equipment) kit only once. I have been working day and night with the Health department for the last ten years. I was infected in the line of duty and in return I am not even getting basic facilities. I cannot tell you what I have gone through in the last 16 hours,” he said.
Dr Ramesh Chandra, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) at Barabanki said it was a case of ‘Too Many Expectations’. Earlier on Wednesday, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the Congress’ Eastern UP in-charge tweeted a video alleging that the water was the result of a nearby drain overflowing.
The Gorakhpur District Magistrate responded to the video shared by Congress scion, and said the water was due to rain.
People Demand a Week Long Lockdown
Shobhit Singhal, a resident of Gomti Nagar in Lucknow, demanded that the government imposes a week-long lockdown in view of the spike in the number of cases. “Cases are increasing at a dramatic rate and everyone will be infected with this virus if this situation persists. I do not think a weekend lockdown will help in improving the situation,” he said.
Vimlesh Nigam, an environment activist in Lucknow, was also of a similar opinion. “If the government really wants to contain this crisis then it should blindly go with another lockdown of a week or two weeks. There are no beds at hospitals and we will only see dead bodies. Both, the people and the government, need to understand the seriousness of the situation. Else, we all should be prepared for the worst,” Nigam said.
India has the third-highest active number of COVID-19 cases, and has crossed the 10 lakh mark. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology estimate that by the end of next year, India will be the worst-hit country in the world.