60 Covid-19 cases: Bengaluru college turns into cluster

Girls' college in Bengaluru's Electronics City turns Covid cluster with 60 cases

The situation could potentially complicate matters for the district administration which is yet to complete contact tracing

Representative Image. Credit: DH File Photo

A major cluster of Covid-19 cases has been discovered at a girls’ college near Electronics City, South Bengaluru. College and government officials said that out of 340 residential students, 60 had been found positive as of Tuesday. 

“The outbreak was first discovered on Sunday, September 26, when a 17-year-old girl developed symptoms of the disease,” said a member of the staff at Sri Chaitanya PU and CBSE College, located near Electronics City Phase 2. 

Also read: Backlog of Covid-19 deaths surfaces in Bengaluru

Testing of students began after reports of vomiting, fever and cough on Sunday, added Dr G Srinivas, district health officer, Bengaluru Urban District. “When the students were subjected to rapid antigen testing, 23 others were found positive almost immediately,” Dr Srinivas said, adding that 37 others were found positive on Tuesday following RT-PCR testing. 

“Fourteen of the positive cases are from Tamil Nadu and the rest are from Karnataka, from districts like Raichur, Ballari, Kalaburagi...etc. Thirty have symptoms. We are now assessing the cases to determine if any require hospitalisation,” he added.

 The first case, meanwhile, has been admitted to Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital and Research Institute, although health officials are yet to determine if she is the index case for the outbreak. 

“We are investigating whether there is a travel history to the outbreak. What is known is that the students, all of whom are in II PU, had returned to the campus on September 5. As the index case is yet to be determined, the infection source is still unknown,” explained Dr Vinay Kumar, health officer for Anekal taluk.

Scenes of panic 

There was panic at the college when the news broke on Tuesday, with scores of parents descending on campus to take their children home. Although the college had isolated 59 students at a special designated building on-campus, a college staffer told DH that parents were pressuring faculty to withdraw students, both positive and negative cases. 

“District authorities have decided that all symptomatic cases, if not able to stay on campus, must be checked into a hospital nearby,” Dr Kumar said. “As for negative cases, parents have been given permission to take such students home but only with the consent of their district surveillance officers.” 

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The situation could potentially complicate matters for the district administration which is yet to complete contact tracing and has plans to re-test all negative cases seven days from now. 

District officials said that the college will be closed for 14 days and turned into a containment zone. The college said that all of the students had presented negative RT-PCR certificates before coming to the college on September 5. “We just don’t understand how this outbreak took place,” a staffer said. 

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