GUWAHATI, May 8 - The Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) and Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI) have been closed for new patients and three areas in Guwahati were declared containment zones as the State health department went on an overdrive to trace the contacts of the four patients who tested positive for COVID-19 in the city.
Three of the patients in Guwahati � including a 16-year-old girl who died a day before � did not have any travel history, while the fourth, Debraj Acharya, had returned from Medinipur near Siliguri. Resident of Changsari, Acharya, along with two others, had reached Guwahati on May 6 and their samples taken at the Sarusajai quarantine camp. The other two have tested negative.
Around 386 staff of GMCH, including the superintendent, were put under quarantine after a PG student, Dr Litikesh VS, hailing from Andhra Pradesh tested positive for the novel coronavirus yesterday. He was on screening duty at the hospital since May 4, but Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma suspect he got infected much before as he was showing symptoms since April 27. Tests are being conducted on the hospital staff and the results are expected by tonight.
The district administration has declared his hostel area as a containment zone.
While the GMCH will be closed for new admissions for the next three days, the health department is planning to rope in a private lab to conduct COVID-19 tests on 1,500 patients and staff of GMCH. �We need the results in one or two days, that is why we will do it through a private lab,� the Health Minister said.
The patient who died, 16-year-old Deepika Nath is a resident of Lokhara and was suffering from leg pain and mild fever since April 27. Of late, she was staying with her grandmother at the BBCI colony and had also visited the OPD of ESI Hospital before she passed away on May 7 evening. He grandmother is an employee of BBCI.
�On the advice of the GMCH doctors, the BBCI authorities collected her samples before the last rites. Contact tracing is being done in the BBCI staff colony area and one doctor, three nurses and 12 of her family members were put under quarantine,� the Health Minister Sarma said. However, the Central government would decide if Deepika would be categorized as COVID-19 casualty.
The BBCI staff colony has been declared as containment zone and the institute closed for patients till May 10 as it would be sanitized during the next three days.
The fourth patient in Guwahati is a housewife, who hails from Kharguli area but was staying with her daughter at Amiyo Nagar near Chandmari. Identified as Baroda Das, the patient complained of cough and both she and her husband were quarantined. Her samples tested positive for COVID-19.
Pointing to the cases which did not have any travel history, the Health Minister said it appears that there is a trace of coronavirus in the city and people need to be extremely cautious.
�We have noticed violations of the lockdown guidelines. Pillion riding is going on, the number of shops open is much more than what was allowed. Children are seen on roads travelling with their parents. These need to stop. Unless it is very important, people should not come out if they want to save the State from further damage,� Sarma said.
He asked people showing symptoms to immediately consult doctors.