The country's top tertiary care centre, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) in Thiruvananthapuram, has cancelled most of its regular cardiology and neurology operations following the detection of seven COVID-19 cases in the hospital on April 18. Only emergency surgeries will be held.
Both nurses and patients, in both Cardiology and Neurology departments, were among the infected. It is for the first time that such a huge number of cases were detected in a single day at SCTIMST. The origin of the infection is still not clear. "We have no idea whether the virus was brought in by a patient or by one of our nursing staff," a top SCTIMST source said.
The hospital is urgently tracing the primary contacts of the infected. There is a fear that the number of primary contacts could be high. The results of the samples taken on Sunday will be revealed only later in the day on Monday.
Since bystanders are allowed only for rare procedures like Deep Brain Stimulation, it is mostly the patients and the health care staff who have been affected. The plan is to identify primary contacts, put them through an RTPCR test and isolate them. If the condition of any of these affected patients are not serious, they might even be asked to shift back home.
"It is not as if we did not have COVID-19 cases but it was few, one or two cases a week. This is the first time that seven were detected. This is a clear sign that the virus has spread unseen through the institute," the source said.