First COVID casualty in Jammu, toll 4; cases jump to 159

4 more Tablighis, contacts test +ve
3 hiding travel history traced in Udhampur, FIR lodged

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, Apr 8: Jammu today reported its first Coronavirus casualty taking total deaths in the Union Territory to four with Kashmir having already recorded three while there was surge in COVID-19 cases with 34 testing positive including 30 in the Valley and four in Jammu taking the tally to 159. A total of 31 cases are now COVID-19 positive in Jammu region.
Official sources told the Excelsior that 63-year old woman, who was an arthritis patient and bed-ridden hailing from Tikri in Udhampur district was shifted to Narayana Super Specialty Hospital at Kakryal in Katra by her family following chest congestion and other problems.
As she was symptomatic, the hospital sent her to the Government Medical College Jammu for the sample test. She was, however, not given the Critical Care Ambulance and the family brought her to the GMC Jammu in private Wagon R car. Click here to watch video
At the GMC, she was rushed to the CCU and then ICU and her sample was taken for COVID testing but she collapsed within few minutes of hospitalization. Late tonight, she tested positive for COVID-19, making her first Coronavirus casualty in Jammu region and taking death of the Union Territory to four as Kashmir has already reported three deaths.
The woman had no travel history as she was bed-ridden and the district Udhampur administration has been tracing contact history of her family. Her son is a PSO with a retired officer in Jammu.
Sources said the GMC authorities have sounded civil and police administration and Health authorities in Udhampur to ensure there is no large gathering at cremation of the woman as her body will be sent directly from the GMC to cremation ground at Tikri. The body has been isolated and packed in the suit as per Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). Her family members have also been given kits to wear during cremation.
The family members, those sitting in Wagon R and others who had come in contact with the woman are being isolated and will be quarantined and subjected to sample testing. The movement history of family members of the deceased are being traced to find out source of infection to the woman.
Authorities were examining whether the SOP and protocol have been violated by the Narayana hospital while dealing with the patient.
Meanwhile, four more Tablighis and their contacts including one from Meerut in Uttar Pradesh and three from Sunjawan, who had been kept for quarantine at a religious place tested positive today taking number of total Coronavirus patients in the Jammu region to 31.
“All four positive cases were reported today from Sunjwan, where number of Tablighi Jamaat cadre and their contacts have been kept for quarantine. They included 36 years old man from Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, who was a Tablighi and his three contacts-all residents of Sunjwan,” official sources told the Excelsior.
Eighteen Tablighis and their contacts lodged in quarantine centres at Bhatindi, Sunjawan and surrounding areas have so far tested negative, sources said, adding that more samples of Tablighi Jamaat cadre and their contacts have been sent for COVID-19 testing.
Yesterday, five Tablighis including two from Meerut and one from Mumbai in Maharashtra were tested positive.
All three Tablighis and contacts have been shifted to isolation ward of the hospital.
Bhatindi and Sunjawan areas have already been sealed by the administration and movement of the people restricted there.
As reported today, Tablighi Jamaat cadre had reached Kashmir on March 3 and after travelling to various religious and other places, they arrived in Jammu on March 23. After detecting them, the administration had kept them for quarantine at religious places and asked the Health authorities to take their samples.
District Magistrate Dr Piyush Singla, in a tweet, today said ground surveillance teams have identified three more persons during last two days including two from Ramnagar and one from Udhampur, who had travel history to Nizamuddin.
“Despite repeated calls, people are hiding history, FIR being registered. Please come forward and help our teams,” Dr Singla tweeted.
There were about 10 COVID-19 positive cases in Udhampur district including five members of a family all of whom were Tablighis and their contacts. Number of areas in Udhampur district have been declared as “Red and Buffer Zones” and movement of the people restricted there.
COVID-19 positive cases in Jammu region have been restricted to Jammu, Udhampur and Rajouri districts while all other seven districts are “Coronavirus free”.
Meanwhile, 78 persons were today discharged from different quarantine centres in Kathua district, taking total number of those released after completion of quarantine to 1120, Deputy Commissioner Kathua OP Bhagat said.
He added that 2270 patients were still lodged in quarantine centres across the district.
Jammu and Kashmir’s border with Punjab at Lakhanpur remained sealed.
Twenty persons were also discharged from quarantine centres in Manjakote and Kalakote areas of Rajouri district today and allowed to go home.
Meanwhile, in a major boost to enhance testing capacity of Coronavirus in Jammu, Department of Microbiology in association with CSIR-IIM Canal Road Jammu has started the RT-PCR, a confirmatory test to detect Corona infection in all suspected cases with Corona-like symptoms at CSIR-IIM Jammu.
A Memorandum of Understanding in this regard has been signed between the Principal Government Medical College Jammu and Director CSIR-IIIM Jammu.
As per the agreement, CSIR-IIIM Jammu has agreed to provide its BSL-3 level Laboratories to be used by the Department of Microbiology Government Medical College Jammu, whose Head of Department Dr Shashi S Sudan has taken the initiative and has already started sample testing in that Lab from April 7, thereby almost doubling the testing capacity in Jammu division which will help in detecting and screening more suspects for Coronavirus.
Dr Harleen Kour, who was the Incharge of sample collection team at GMC Jammu from Corona suspected cases, has been designated as Nodal Officer for the new facility.
Dr Kour will work in coordination with Dr Inshad Ali Khan, Senior Principal Scientist CSIR-IIIM.