On a day West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced 12 new cases of active positive COVID-19 in the state, the medical superintendent-cum-vice principal of the government-run district hospital in Howrah tested positive and was admitted to a hospital in Kolkata earmarked for coronavirus patients.
The Howrah setback comes a day after a senior health official of the North Bengal Medical College Hospital in Siliguri also tested positive for COVID-19. But at least 74 of 79 staff of the state-run NRS Hospital in Kolkata, including 39 doctors, tested negative for COVID-19. They were tested after a 34-year-old patient died at NRS on Saturday. The test result of the patient came in after he died.
In Howrah, at least 10 other health workers of that hospital as well as Howrah District chief medical officer of health have been quarantined.
A 48-year-old woman from Salkia in Howrah city had died at the hospital on March 30. The superintendent had been surrounded by agitated nurses after the woman's death because she had been admitted to a general ward and not the isolation ward for suspect COVID-19 patients. The staff had protested that they had to attend to the patient without protective gear.
The medical superintendent had gone into isolation on Monday. His COVID-19 test result came in Wednesday night.
Referring to the Howrah incident, Ms Banerjee said Howrah district hospital would no longer be a COVID-19 hospital. All suspect patients would be admitted to the Satyabala ID Hospital in Howrah or sent to a private nursing home in Uluberia earmarked for COVID-19.