Covid-19: Positivity rate double among healthcare workers in Delhi, Telangana and Maharashtra

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The positivity rate for coronavirus among healthcare workers in three states _ Telangana, Maharashtra, and Delhi _ is double or more than the rate in general population, according to data shared by the union health ministry on Thursday.

Positivity rate reflects the proportion of people who test positive among those who are tested.

India’s positivity rate currently stands at about 7%. The country has ramped up testing and has been able to conduct over 1 million tests for three days consecutively.

In comparison, the positivity rate among healthcare workers _ doctors, nurses, paramedical staff _ is the highest in Telangana where 18% of those tested were found to be positive. This is followed by Maharahtra with 16% and Delhi with 12%.

The union health ministry has reached out to six states where the positivity rate among healthcare workers is on the “higher side.” The other states with high positivity rate among healthcare workers include – Karnataka where 13% of those tested are found to be positive, Puducherry with 12%, and Punjab with 11%, according to the data shared.

“We have been tracking the positivity rate among the health care workers in the country. They are a precious resource and there is a need to protect them from the infection. We have brought this to the attention of these states and union territories through the ministry of home affairs,” said union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan in the press briefing on Thursday.

He cited three reasons for higher infection among healthcare workers _ protocols for hospital infection control not being followed, protective gear not being used properly, and lack of containment measures in their area of residence.

“The high positivity rate among healthcare worker begs the question, how are they getting infected? Is it from the hospital? That could be one reason. There is a standard protocol for hospital infection control. We have to see if that is being followed, if not we need to follow that. Then, we need to see if adequate protection is being taken by the healthcare workers, that is, proper donning and doffing of the PPE kits. We have also issued an SOP for that. We have recommended a buddy system where you have a group of two nurses or doctors with one seeing that the other has properly donned or doffed the PPE,” said Bhushan.

He also said that if the healthcare workers are getting the infection from their area of residence, then proper containment measures would be needed.

“We have also drawn the attention of the states and UTs to the localities where these doctors and nurses and support staff are coming from. If they are bringing infection from their localities, then we have to decide whether those localities have been contained or not. In case there is a need for containment or declaring them as buffer zone, then that must be done,” he said.