Three private hospitals in south Mumbai close to new patients amid coronavirus scare
11 April, 2020, 4:04 am
MUMBAI (Reuters) – At least three private hospitals in India’s financial capital Mumbai have shut their doors to new patients because of concerns about medical staff being exposed to the coronavirus, increasing stress on the city’s health system, officials said on Thursday.
Around 70 medical staff were isolated at south Mumbai’s Bhatia Hospital and were awaiting their test results for COVID-19, a spokeswoman told Reuters.
Staff were exposed to a patient complaining of stomach pain whom they treated with routine protective gear until he tested positive for the disease days later, according to Maharashtra state’s United Nurses Association.
The 200-bed Bhatia hospital had “specifically identified all the staff that may have come directly or indirectly in contact with the positive patients”, it said in a statement to Reuters.
It was not immediately clear how many patients were inside the hospital.
Mumbai, with 775 cases, has become India’s coronavirus hotspot. The country has so far recorded 5,865 cases of coronavirus, including 169 deaths.
A senior official at Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, said the authority was concerned and all of city’s hospitals needed to be more alert.
“We cannot afford to have hospitals shut down. This is a very crucial period … There will be staff crunch if a lot of them are in quarantine,” said the official, who declined to be identified in line with government policy.
Over the weekend, similar scenes played out at two other top private facilities in south Mumbai – Wockhardt Hospital and Jaslok Hospital. Together those have 700 beds but have not been taking any new patients after some nurses were exposed to the disease.
Several healthcare professionals at Wockhardt had tested positive, the hospital has said, adding that they were unknowingly exposed to the virus through a patient who was initially asymptomatic.
Jaslok said that possible exposure to a patient forced it to test nearly 1,000 of its staff – all of whom tested negative. The hospital was still not open for out-patient or patient admission.
Mumbai is also facing an uphill battle to contain coronavirus outbreaks in its vast slums, especially in Dharavi which is one of Asia’s largest.