BMC says it will continue testing, tracing and treating for Covid-19 in Mumbai
Presently, there are zero active containment zones and sealed buildings in Mumbai. In the last 24 hours, BMC has done 238 contact tracing of patients testing positive for Covid-19
Mumbai: With all Covid-19 restrictions lifted from April 1 and usage of face masks were insisted on by the state government, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said that it will continue the three basic Ts – Testing, Tracing and Treating in the city.
Additional municipal commissioner Suresh Kakani informed that those with influenza-like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) symptoms will be tested for Covid-19. “We have 266 centres across Mumbai which includes all our dispensaries, major hospitals, peripheral hospitals, maternity homes. People who have influenza-like symptoms will be tested for Covid-19. In case a patient is found positive, his relatives and close contacts will be tested for Covid-19,” he said. Kakani added that in such a case, the patient will be home quarantined depending on the severity of the symptoms. “We will continue with the quarantine policy for people found positive and their close contacts,” he said.
According to the present home quarantine protocol, a patient with mild symptoms or asymptomatic and close contact will be in-home quarantine for seven days. There is no need for re-testing once the isolation period ends.
Presently, there are zero active containment zones and sealed buildings in Mumbai. In the last 24 hours, BMC has done 238 contact tracing of patients testing positive for Covid-19.
Doctors said that though the cases and criticality of the disease has come down, one should continue with Covid-19 Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) like wearing a face mask, sanitising hands and following hygiene and social distancing.
Dr Shashank Joshi, a state Covid-19 task force member said, “Everything is advisory and voluntary now. We expect people to follow the learning from this pandemic and follow the Covid-19 appropriate behaviour. The transmission is very low now but we should continue to wear a mask when we are in crowded and poorly ventilated places,” he said. Dr Joshi added that the treatment protocols will continue to remain the same.
Dr Kedar Toraskar, another state Covid-19 task force member, said that doctors have to continue to test those with ILI and SARI symptoms for Covid-19. “People should not take the disease lightly even if the restrictions have been eased off and cases are low. If there are symptoms, they should consult a doctor. Early diagnosis is good for all,” he said.
Dr Toraskar added that people falling under the high-risk category like senior citizens, people who are immunocompromised- should wear masks in crowded places. “People should wear masks where the population density is high and maintaining social distance is not possible. The Covid-19-safety protocols reduce the risk of getting other air-borne infections too,” he said.
Dr Lancelot Pinto, pulmonary medicine specialist, at PD Hinduja Hospital said people should get vaccinated apart from continuing to wear the mask.
“There is no doubt that masks prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2. However, they work only when the right mask is worn in the right way. This tends to only happen when masks are worn voluntarily,” said Pinto. “I think there is a need to sensitise individuals to wear masks when they are ill, to protect others, and when they are in the middle of high-risk settings such as indoor spaces and crowded spaces, to protect themselves. Mandating masks by law was never the answer; education and helping people to make the right decisions and choose to wear a mask.”
Even as the use of masks is now an individual choice, hospital authorities want their medical and non-medical staff to keep their masks on, even as the state government has now made the masks optional.
“I am of the opinion that we should not throw caution to the wind,” said Dr Sujit Chatterjee, chief executive officer of Powai’s Hiranandani Hospital. “We have instructed all hospital staff to continue with their masks. But as far as the visitors are concerned, we are not keeping any mandates. We have instructed security that those visiting the hospital have the right to choose if they want to wear a mask or not,” said Chatterjee.
Dr S Narayani, zonal director of Fortis Hospitals in Mumbai said that caregivers in the hospital will continue to remain masked. “We’ve not tightened or loosened our mask directives. The measure is in place to protect the individual and prevent the spread of infection. At this juncture, it is more about self-vigilance,” she said.
Public hospitals too have not issued any circulars with fresh mandates. “We advise that our medical and non-medical staff should continue wearing masks but we cannot enforce any mandate. The same goes for visitors in the hospital,” said Dr Sangeeta Ravat, dean of the largest civic-run KEM hospital in Parel.