Medicos concerned, but calm over COVID cluster

By K Shiva Shanker
Panic levels among healthcare staff seem to be low given the ‘mild’ symptoms caused by Omicron infection. (Source: The Hindu)

Clusters of COVID-19 cases among doctors and healthcare staff used to cause alarm during the first and second waves of the pandemic. Demands were made for better precautionary measures and robust testing. Even letters were shot off to higher authorities underscoring those demands. But this time round, with 115 medicos and doctors at Gandhi Medical College and Osmania Medical College testing COVID-positive by Tuesday night, the level of anxiety and fear seems faint.

Citing high transmissibility of Omicron variant, the junior and senior doctors said that they had anticipated cases to be widespread among them. Their only request is that people maintain precautions so that the healthcare system is not burdened, again. Such a situation would hamper COVID as well as non-COVID medical services.

Call for caution

While infection with Omicron has been mild, senior doctors from government hospitals have called for caution as long term effects and impact on people of various age groups is still unknown. “No one expected Mucromycosis to be detected among COVID-recovered persons during the second wave. We continue to see how it can leave people devastated. We don’t know what impact Omicron will have in the long run. So it is better that all of us continue to take precautions,” said a senior doctor at Osmania General Hospital.

The fear about them spreading the infection to their family members, however, plays on their mind. Assurance was sought from authorities that their family members testing positive will be taken care of.

Another senior doctor said maintaining precautions helps people keep themselves safe to avoid possible hospitalisation. This helps brings down the risk to healthcare workers too.

“If a doctor contracts COVID and isolates for seven days, it increases the time a patient has to wait for medical consultation or treatment. People have to take all precautions for their safety and for the larger cause of not causing discomfort to people who visit hospitals,” said another senior doctor.

As the infections surge, more doctors and health staff would be dedicated to attending COVID patients. This would impact non-COVID services too, in terms of extended waiting time for doctor consultation, undergoing diagnosis tests and receiving treatment.

Junior doctors at Gandhi Hospital point out that the tertiary care centre was turned into a COVID-exclusive facility twice in the past two years.

“Thousands rely on our hospital for non-COVID services. Besides, if Gandhi Hospital is again turned into COVID facility, our academics will be impacted,” said a junior doctor.


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