Health workers exposed to Covid positive patients will need to continue working and must keep an eye out for any symptoms they develop, a central government-run hospital in Delhi has told its staff.
The order issued by Lady Hardinge Medical College and Hospital comes against the backdrop of rising infections among doctors and other healthcare staff as the third wave of pandemic sweeps across the country, pushing up case counts. The country recorded over 1,17,000 Covid cases over the past 24 hours.
The circular mentions that the directive is based on the latest guidelines of the Union Health Ministry and National Centre for Disease Control. The Health Ministry, however, has not publicly issued these guidelines yet.
The circular says that health workers must continue working after an exposure to Covid positive cases while following protocols – an N-95 mask and maximum possible social distancing – “irrespective of the degree of exposure”.
They must watch out for symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath, among others, and if they develop any, they must undergo an RT-PCR test, the guidelines state.
For health workers who test positive but are asymptomatic or are experiencing mild symptoms, the hospital has advised seven days of home isolation.
For moderate or severe cases that require hospitalisation, it has advised seven days of isolation following discharge from a healthcare facility.
A worrying number of doctors and healthcare workers are testing positive every day as the third wave threatens to overwhelm the country’s medical infrastructure.
Over the past few days, over 300 healthcare workers and doctors from Delhi, including 90 from the government-run Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, over 50 from AIIMS and Safdarjung, and 13 from the Ganga Ram Hospital, a private facility, have tested positive.