Coronavirus Scare: Restrictions on attendants, visitors at hospitals

Srinagar: Government hospitals across Kashmir have been asked to restrict visitors due to the threat of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Director of Health Services, Kashmir, Dr Samir Matoo told Kashmir Reader that he had issued strict directions to all Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) and Medical Superintendents of district hospitals and health centers to restrict attendants and visitors to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Only one attendant is allowed per patient,” he said.
“No attendant who exhibits cold and flu symptoms should be allowed to visit the patients,” Dr Matoo said.
In addition to visitor restrictions at hospitals, the Director Health said that directions have been issued to spread awareness about hygienic practices.
“We are asking people to help us create the safest environment possible for patients,” he said.
“Hospital visitors are encouraged to frequently wash hands with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitiser. They should use a tissue to cover any cough or sneezing. People should assess their health and consider staying home if sick,” he said.
The health department has also decided to have separate out-patient consultation facilities for patients with Respiratory Tract Infection and Influenza-like illness in every health institution.
“All health institutions shall have separate Respiratory Tract Infection (RTI)/ Influenza-like illness (ILI) OPDs, and OPD tickets may be issued accordingly, so that RTI patients shall be separated from patients in OPDs,” said a circular issued by the Director Health Services, Kashmir.
Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Soura and hospitals associated with the Government Medical College (GMC) have also appealed to people to restrict unnecessary visits to hospitals to protect themselves from infection.
“We are trying our best to keep our hospital clean but all our infection control measures prove futile in the presence of huge attendants,” said Dr Nazir Choudhary, Medical Superintendent of SMHS Hospital.
He said people were coming to the hospitals unnecessarily.
“One patient is accompanied by more than five attendants, which is why our system is overwhelmed. People must change that approach,” Dr Choudhary said.
Similarly, the Medical Superintendent of SKIMS Soura, Dr Farooq A Jan appealed that people must stay away from hospitals because it increases the risk of infection.
“People must not create panic and come to hospitals with simple queries. It overburdens the facility and increases the risk of infection,” he said.

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