Jalgaon started testing bodies before ICMR guidelines changed, finds several contacts positive for coronavirus

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Written by Tabassum Barnagarwala | Mumbai | Published: June 10, 2020 4:41:57 am

coronavirus in maharashtra, coronavirus cases in maharashtra, coronavirus test in maharashtra, coronavirus test of dead bodies in jalgoan, swab collection of dead bodies in jalgaon, icmr, icmr guild lines, indian express news At The civil hospital in Jalgaon. (Express Photo)

The decision to take a swab from a deceased, suspected to have had Covid-19 symptoms, helped Jalgaon health officials detect at least 70 infected people in one instance. Encouraged by this, the district started testing swabs from all deceased, who died with Covid-19 symptoms, nearly a month ahead of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) issuing similar guidelines on mid-May.

An 85-year-old man had died in Jalgaon’s Bhadgaon tehsil towards the end of April. Before he died, he had visited a private doctor. “When he was brought dead in the government hospital, the doctor suspected he died of Covid-19. All Covid-19 symptoms were present, so he took a swab,” said Collector Avinash Dhakne.

The senior citizens’s funeral was attended by several people, and a few days later, his swab tested positive. Following this, the Bhadgaon health officials began contact tracing procedure. Thirty people who attended his final rites, including his family, tested positive.

Several patients of the private doctor also tested positive. The doctor was also booked for not following protocol to refer the senior citizen to a government facility. “We found 70 infected from just this one dead man. I asked all talukas to test any deceased with suspected Covid-19 symptoms. Through this we were able to detect more and isolate more,” Dhakne said.

Till now, 13 such deceased have tested positive in Jalgaon. The district has recorded over 112 deaths and more than 1,000 cases so far.

In another case, the parents of a man, who returned from Mumbai to Amalner taluka in Jalgaon, fell ill while he showed no symptoms. The father runs a grocery shop.

“His mother was the first to fall seriously ill. By the time the parents they were admitted to a hospital and treatment could begin, she had died. We took her swab and it tested positive,” said Civil Surgeon Dr Nagesh Chavan.

Several people came in contact with the grocery shop and health officials began the tedious process of tracing each customer. “Twenty people in their family went on to test positive. The family became the index case in Amalner,” Chavan said, adding the taluka now has 125 positive cases.

District officials said the decision to test bodies has helped detect hundreds of more cases in the city that would have otherwise led to community transmission. On May 20, ICMR revised its guidelines, asking hospitals to take swabs from deceased suspected to have had Covid-19.

In Mumbai, MLA Rais Shaikh said since the revised guidelines, public hospitals test all bodies declared dead on arrival in the casualty ward. Govandi-based social worker Shoab Hashmi said BMC hospitals are also testing all bodies, even those with no symptoms of Covid-19.

“There was murder case. Rajawadi hospital conducted a Covid-19 test on the deceased on June 3 even though he had no symptoms. On June 5, the test came positive,” said Hashim.

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