COVID tightens grip on GMC Srinagar, associated hospitals

Hospitals in the summer capital are reeling under a gross shortage of staff with an increasing number of employees testing positive and remaining off work.

In order to cater to the most urgent of patients, they have appealed to people to visit hospitals only if absolutely necessary.

In the past 19 days, 736 people associated with GMC Srinagar and its network of hospitals have tested positive, Prof S Saleem Khan, head department of social and preventive medicine at the medical college said. He said on Wednesday alone, over 100 staffers tested positive. While giving details, he said, those who are in isolation include hundreds of doctors, nurses and technicians, thus creating a gross shortage of manpower in all hospitals.

A senior doctor at SMHS Hospital said that although the hospital was running its OPD, and many patients were admitted in wards and ICUs, the hospital was reeling under a shortage of staff. “We don’t know how to manage with such a high number found positive every day,” he said.

At GB Pant Children Hospital too, one of the doctors Greater Kashmir spoke to, said that the doctors who are currently present are taking double their usual load as the hospital has over 50 staffers in isolation. These include 32 doctors. The OPDs of the hospital, he said, are brimming to edges due to a load of pediatric patients. The doctors said the staff shortage is most prominent in neonatal and pediatric care units of the hospital and at Lal Ded Hospital’s neonatal ICU. “We are finding it difficult to manage these ICUs,” he said.

Prof Khan said in the past five days only, 529 staffers have been found positive in this medical college. At SKIMS Soura also, a number of staff members, including doctors have been found positive.

Prof Parvaiz A Koul said it was absolutely necessary that the patients be sorted. “Only those who require medical attention absolutely can come to the hospital, others must avoid it at all costs,” he said.

He said that the number of patients was rising due to a highly transmissible virus but a majority of people were mildly symptomatic. “People cannot be coming to the hospital for treatment of congested nose these days. This will not keep us in a position to treat patients who are in emergency need of treatment,” he said.

Prof Khan said that SMHS Hospital and other hospitals were not refusing patients but appealed that people need to be vigilant. “Please avoid hospitals if you can,” he said.