Coronavirus: Intense screening, contact tracing helped prevent COVID-19 spread in Bhilwara, say officials

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Published: April 7, 2020 6:46:32 PM

Till now, the district has reported 27 COVID-19 positive cases and two deaths.

Massive contact tracing of coronavirus positive patients and screening of people under an aggressive containment model helped authorities check the spread of the disease in Rajasthan’s Bhilwara district, one of the country’s COVID-19 hotspots, according to officials.  Bhilwara city, which is the district’s headquarters, saw a sudden spurt in cases after a doctor of a private hospital tested positive for the coronavirus on March 20.

Till now, the district has reported 27 COVID-19 positive cases and two deaths. Of the total number of people who had tested positive, 13 have recovered, the officials said.  “First of all, we isolated our district and sealed all the boundaries to ensure there was no entry and exit of people. The work of contact tracing of positive patients and intense screening was immediately taken up in a very aggressive manner and it turned out to be a ‘ruthless containment model’,” Bhilwara District Collector Rajendra Bhatt told PTI. He said that after the doctor tested positive of the virus, a lockdown was imposed immediately. Medical teams were formed and they were directed to survey every household and screen those with COVID-19 symptoms, Bhatt said.

“We conducted door-to-door surveys in both the (Bhilwara) city and rural areas. Every single household was covered in the survey.Those who were screened with symptoms of fever and cough were identified and quarantined,” he said, adding that the lockdown was made stricter later.

Bhatt said that “wherever required, samples were taken, and so far screening has been done at least three times in the city”. It has been done once in 1,910 villages, he said.  The collector said as the COVID-19 cases were concentrated in the city, multiple rounds of screening were conducted. “We have covered a population of 26.5 lakh people in the entire district,” he said.

“The chief minister was constantly monitoring the situation. Be it PPE (personal protective equipment) or N-95 masks, all our requirements were immediately addressed which helped in handling the situation effectively,” Bhatt said. He said 3,030 samples were collected till Monday and sampling of all those, who were found with coronavirus disease symptoms like fever and cough, will be done in next 10 days.

The collector said during a video conference with district collectors, the Union cabinet secretary appreciated the ‘Bhilwara model’.  Superintendent of Police Bhilwara Harendra Mahawar said work was done on war footing in coordination authorities concerned. Police personnel surveyed colonies where visitors of the Bangar Hospital, from where the COVID-19 outbreak began, could be staying.

“The lockdown was imposed within 15 minutes on strict orders without harming the supply of food and other essentials goods. CLG members, community leaders, and religious leaders were approached and appealed to motivate the public to stay at home.

“Initiatives were launched, appealing videos were made and a few unwanted social elements faced legal action too. Nearly 600 vehicles have also been seized,” he said.  During the lockdown, food packets and ration were distributed to needy people, Mahawar said.  District Chief Medical and Health Officer Mushtaq Khan said that the main task was to identify the relatives of the first patient and isolate them.

“It was done on war-footing and everything was brought under control at the right time,” he said.  Khan said the eleven patients who were admitted in the district hospital were tested negative and discharged.  “Two others were discharged from the SMS Hospital in Jaipur. As of now, we have 10 coronavirus positive patients admitted to our (district) hospital,” Arun Gaud, principal medical officer of the district hospital, said. At present, there are nearly 7000 people in home isolation and 314 in various quarantine facilities.

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