- Round-the-clock duty at COVID-19 Hospital on KRS Road
- Hospital declared as Red Zone with tight security
- Doctors, healthcare workers wearing PPEs cannot eat and also drink water for 8 hours
- Food, accommodation and transport for medical and para-medical personnel at hotels and guest houses
- Families can be contacted only over phone
- After the duty at Hospital, personnel have to undergo a 14-day quarantine before going home
By S.T. Ravikumar
Mysore/Mysuru: Sheltered in the safety of our homes and the comfort of our social distancing, we watch and read about them in the newspapers — doctors, epidemiologists, virologists, nurses, pathologists, paramedics, cleaners and emergency workers. These are our new celebrities, the unsung heroes on the frontline of the battle against Coronavirus.
The medical providers on the frontline are the people who can’t go home, who risk the health of themselves and their families, to make sure that our families are safe. These are the people who are working day and night, treating and interacting with positive patients of COVID-19.
At the designated COVID-19 Hospital (District Hospital) on KRS Road in Mysuru there are many such Coronavirus Warriors who are treating over 41 positive patients, taking care of their well being and also at the same time preventing themselves from the epidemic. More than 50 medical practitioners, over 75 non-medical professionals and a host of support and cleaning staff are functioning round the clock here.
These men and women —professors, assistant professors, post-graduates, home surgeons, lab technicians and nurses — work in three shifts of eight hours each under stringent procedures and are drawn from the Mysore Medical College and Research Institute, Department of Health and Family Welfare and K.R. Hospital from the departments of medicine, surgery, anaesthesiology, pathology and radiology, sources told Star of Mysore.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is a must for these staff and they are protected from head to toe. PPEs usually consist of standard precautions — gloves, mask, gown, face protection, goggles and mask or face shield, head cover and rubber boots. Plus there is repeated and consistent use of sanitisers. These PPEs cost Rs. 1,750 per set and cannot be reused.
No food, water for 8 hours
The staff treating positive patients in shifts cannot eat or even drink water for eight hours once they wear the PPEs. And even if they remove one of the PPEs, they are not allowed to re-wear the same. If a doctor or a nurse or a paramedic completes one eight-hour shift, they are not immediately assigned to another shift. They are given a break of 16 hours (two shifts) and then put on duty, sources said.
The medical and paramedical personnel are housed in certain guest houses and hotels at various parts of the city and free accommodation, food and transport are provided. They cannot go home and each staff has been assigned work schedules for a fortnight.
Family contact only over phone
They work in batches and once their duty schedules are over, they are put under mandatory 14-day quarantine. They are allowed to go home only if their swab tests turn negative, sources explained. Families are, however, allowed to be contacted on phone. The duty charts are prepared and protocols are listed by a team of experts comprising District Health Officer, Dean of Mysore Medical College and Research Institute, surgeons and other authorities.
The healthcare professionals are actively supported by a dedicated team of cleaning professionals who too wear PPEs to clean the wards. Over 80 percent of doctors at K.R. Hospital have been deputed to the COVID-19 Hospital.
Destroying used PPEs
A strict procedure is followed to destroy the PPEs discarded by the medical and other staff at COVID-19 Hospital. An incinerator has been set up to burn the discarded PPEs. Giant washing machines have been installed inside the four vacant buildings at the COVID-19 hospital for the staff to wash their clothes and ironing facility has also been provided. The entire hospital campus has been declared as Red Zone amidst tight 24×7 Police security.
I am raring to meet my family, says COVID-19 Hospital nurse
Expressing happiness over the arrangements by the District Administration, a nurse from Brindavan Layout, who is serving at the COVID-19 Hospital on KRS Road, told Star of Mysore that they were given special treatment. “Hygienic food, good accommodation, clean surroundings and other facilities have been provided. Apart from treating positive patients round-the-clock, we too have to mandatorily follow strict procedure so that we don’t get infected,” she said.
“We interact closely with patients and make them comfortable giving them medicines and food. Their health is under constant watch and at the same time, we are also taking precautions,” the nurse said and added that she has to work in shifts till Apr. 14. “After mandatory 14-day quarantine, I am allowed to go home. I am raring to meet my family,” she said.