Half of coronavirus cases in Chitwan are hospital-acquired, study findsA report released by the District Covid-19 Crisis Management Centre on Monday points at a high rate of infection among doctors, nurses and health workers at various hospitals.
Half of the coronavirus cases in Chitwan district so far were hospital-acquired, according to a report by the District Covid Crisis Management Centre released on Monday.
The data generated by conducting a survey among 1,277 coronavirus patients in Chitwan show that 20 percent of the infections are among doctors, health workers and employees working in various hospitals in the district. Out of the total infected, 254 are those involved in the treatment of Covid-19 patients. The rest of the infections have been reported in at least one family member of the infected health workers and among those who have visited the hospitals since the pandemic.
“More than 100 individuals who have come in close contact with the coronavirus patients such as their attendants and visitors have been infected,” said Dipak Tiwari, chief at District Health Office. “The data point out that hospitals are major coronavirus spreaders.”
According to Tiwari, since hospitals in the district are turning into a breeding ground for coronavirus infections, the District Health Office is taking measures to curb the further spread of the virus. “We have requested patients to keep only one attendant at a time and the same attendant should be allowed to stay with the patient throughout the duration of his/her stay at the hospital,” said Tiwari. “When the attendant leaves the hospital, s/he will have to stay in quarantine for at least a week.”
Given the increase in the rate of infection among hospital workers, hospitals in the district have heightened their safety measures. “Around 90 health workers were infected with Covid-19 in our hospital. Although the recovery rate is also quite high, we have adopted additional safety measures,” said Dr Harischandra Neupane, operator of Chitwan Medical College.
Dr Bhojraj Adhikari, chairman at the Government Hospital Development Committee in Bharatpur, said health workers, patients and attendants can avoid getting infected if they follow all safety protocols. “There’s no doubt that the hospitals have become the centre of coronavirus infections. Evidently, very few health workers working in the isolation ward of Bharatpur Hospital have tested positive for the coronavirus,” said Adhikari.
Since mid-August, the coronavirus infection has increased in Chitwan. According to the data at Chitwan Health Office, until mid-August, there were only 209 Covid-19 patients in the district with two Covid-19-related deaths.
Since then 1,098 have been infected while 27 individuals have lost their lives taking the toll to 29 until Tuesday.
“Among the 29 dead, 17 people were from Chitwan while others were those who were brought from other districts for treatment,” said Tiwari.
Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus outbreak
UPDATED as of September 22, 2020
What is Covid-19?
Covid-19, short for coronavirus disease, is an illness caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, short for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Common symptoms of the disease include fever, dry cough, fatigue, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
How contagious is Covid-19?
Covid-19 can spread easily from person to person, especially in enclosed spaces. The virus can travel through the air in respiratory droplets produced when a sick person breathes, talks, coughs or sneezes. As the virus can also survive on plastic and steel surfaces for up to 72 hours and on cardboard for up to 24 hours, any contact with such surfaces can also spread the virus. Symptoms take between two to 14 days to appear, during which time the carrier is believed to be contagious.
Where did the virus come from?
The virus was first identified in Wuhan, China in late December. The coronavirus is a large family of viruses that is responsible for everything from the common cold to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). After an initial outbreak in Wuhan that spread across Hubei province, eventually infecting over 80,000 and killing more than 3,000, new infection rates in mainland China have dropped. However, the disease has since spread across the world at an alarming rate.
What is the current status of Covid-19?
The World Health Organisation has called the ongoing outbreak a “pandemic” and urged countries across the world to take precautionary measures. Covid-19 has spread to 213 countries and territories around the world and infected more than 31,405,983 people with 967,505 deaths and 22,990,260 recoveries. In South Asia, India has reported the highest number of infections at 5,557,573 with 88,943 deaths. While Pakistan has reported 306,304 confirmed cases with 6,420 deaths. Nepal has so far reported 65,276 cases with 427 deaths.
How dangerous is the disease?
The mortality rate for Covid-19 is estimated to be 3.6 percent, but new studies have put the rate slightly higher at 5.7 percent. Although Covid-19 is not too dangerous to young healthy people, older individuals and those with immune-compromised systems are at greater risk of death. People with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease, or those who’ve recently undergone serious medical procedures, are also at risk.
How do I keep myself safe?
The WHO advises that the most important thing you can do is wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol content. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unclean hands. Clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces like your computers and phones. Avoid large crowds of people. Seek medical attention if symptoms persist for longer than a few days.
Is it time to panic?
No. The government has imposed a lockdown to limit the spread of the virus. There is no need to begin stockpiling food, cooking gas or hand sanitizers. However, it is always prudent to take sensible precautions like the ones identified above.