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7 staffers of private hospital test positive for Covid-19 after fashion event

It was a global event for the benefit of frontline health care workers, but seven of the 25 medical and non-medical staff of Delhi’s Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals that participated in the fashion show in the hospital’s auditorium have since tested positive — highlighting the perils of any event in these times.

Doctors, nurses, and non-medical staff participated in a fashion show that was streamed online for a US television channel; the 25 people who walked the ramp practised for 10 days before the event in the hospital auditorium, where the event was recorded without an audience.

The participants used masks when they walked the ramp in pairs and threes, but did not wear them when they walked alone. The director of medical services Dr N Subramanian of the hospital also participated in the event , the hospital confirmed. He did not respond to calls seeking comment.

After the event, at least seven participants tested positive for Covid-19 over the week, including the organizer Dr MS Kanwar, who is a senior consultant of pulmonology at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals.

“A private event for the benefit of Covid-19 frontline staff around the world was organized by a group of doctors. It was not a hospital event and was held virtually, keeping all safety precautions in place for lifting the morale of Covid-19 staff the world over, A few of the participants were later found to be positive as part of the hospitals’ rigorous testing protocols for the staff. Following this, necessary protocols, including quarantining, for Covid-19 staff turning positive were followed. Patient care and staff safety were in no way compromised because of this event,” said a statement from Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals.

Dr Kanwar, who tested positive on September 24, said the infections cannot be attributed to the show: “Most of the people involved in the event were working in Covid-19 areas; I myself was working in the Covid ICU at the time. So many health care workers get the infection and it is not right to say that the event had anything to do with the people who tested positive. The whole point of the event was to show people, to allay their fears, that despite seven months of frontline duty there is another aspect of our lives. It was to give positive message to the people.”

On average, it takes about five days for symptoms to show after the virus enters the body.

But four people familiar with the matter at the hospital confirmed that the infections were detected within a week of the event.

Doctors should have known better, said an expert. “This is not advisable at all. In air-conditioned, ill-ventilated halls there is a high risk of transmission of the infection,” said Dr Jacob John, former head of the department of virology and microbiology at Christian Medical College, Vellore.

By Hindustan Times

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