Health dept surveys infected techie’s apartment

Health department surveys infected techie’s apartment, finds no cases

Tourists from Switzerland and hotel staff sport masks at a restaurant at Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna Railway Station in Bengaluru on March 4, 2020. DH Photo/Janardhan B K

Visiting the apartment complex where the city-based software engineer who tested positive in Telangana lived, the state health department has checked all 92 houses in the building.

It examined 254 people in the building — 189 on Wednesday and 65 on Tuesday. Health department commissioner Pankaj Kumar Pandey told the media on Wednesday that two people showing symptoms of the viral infection were taken to the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases for a follow-up.

“Their throat swabs and blood samples were taken and they were sent home,” said the official.

Eleven of the 92 flats in the East Bengaluru apartment complex were locked. From Monday, Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) are checking on the apartment dwellers. Two teams of ASHAs and nurses are asking if anyone has cough, fever, runny nose or diarrhea.

The apartment appeared calm on Wednesday as health workers went about their inspection. Security had been tightened to prevent the media from entering the building.

“None are found with the symptoms, except infants with diarrhea, which isn’t uncommon for children of that age,” said an ASHA worker exiting the building on Wednesday afternoon. Anyone showing symptoms should be shifted to RGICD, the health worker added.

Even water tanker operators visiting the apartments used hand sanitisers, while drivers of apartment dwellers and house helps were instructed to ensure the pets wore masks.

By afternoon, mothers waiting to take home their children expressed happiness over the surveillance and the briefing from the health department.

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“Most of the attention we are getting is due to scaremongering,” one of the mothers said,  requesting anonymity. “The (infected) techie isn’t here. He’s in his home state. I don’t know what the scare is about.” 

Five patients taken to RGICD

Meanwhile, five people were admitted to RGICD. One of them, an Iranian national, self-reported the condition and had tested negative. Test reports of two Indians — one living in Japan and the other in Saudi Arabia — are awaited.

The infected software engineer’s flat mate is asymptomatic and is in the 12th day of the 14-day incubation period, while the techie’s colleague tested negative, despite showing symptoms of the viral infection.

“The department is awaiting the revised guidelines from the Centre whether to quarantine the patient beyond the 14th day,” Dr Deepak U G, nodal officer at RGICD, said regarding the flat mate.

“Till date, 637 travellers from Covid-19-affected countries have been identified and 419 are under home isolation. As many as 104 Arogya Sahayavani received 7,336 calls till date on the virus and 42,283 passengers have been screened at the Kempegowda International Airport,” Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar said.

“Nearly 280 samples of symptomatic individuals have been sent for testing, of which 275 are eligible for testing and 259 have been reported as negative; 209 passengers have completed 28 days of observation,” he added.

The border districts of Dakshina Kannada, Kodagu, Chamrajnagar, Udupi, Mysuru, Raichur, Kalaburagi and Bidar are under surveillance.

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