54 test positive at hospital in Chennai; 39 may have Omicron – Times of India

Chennai News

CHENNAI: At least 54 people, including doctors, nurses and medical students, tested positive for Covid-19 at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital on Saturday.
The source of infection, according to doctors, was one of the patients, a diabetic, admitted to the hospital for a skin graft procedure on December 17.
While there was no travel history reported in any of the patients, at least 39 of them had the S-gene drop – an indicator that they could be carrying the Omicron variant. All patients have a mild form of infection and are stable, the hospital said.
On Saturday, health minister Ma Subramanian said the state has tested 3,038 close contacts of the patients, including hospital staff, students and family members, between December 18 and 24.
So far, 54 contacts have tested positive, he told reporters. Those infected include 18 healthcare providers – seven undergraduate medical residents, seven nursing students, two staff nurses, a post-graduate student and an outsourced worker. At least 21 other contacts, including family members, have also tested positive.
‘Spread among close contacts extremely high’
“We are continuing to trace and test contacts. The samples of all patients have been sent for whole genome sequencing,” Subramanian said.
The health condition of all patients is stable, according to hospital dean Dr E Theranirajan. “Our teams tracked and tested all contacts of healthcare workers, including hostel and classmates, and those who sat with them for lunch or tea. Close contacts who tested negative have been told to report if they have symptoms of cold, sore throat or fever. Patients who tested positive have a mild form of infection and are doing well,” he said.
According to data from the public health department most patients – confirmed and suspected to be carrying the Omicron variant – have mild symptoms. “That is our biggest challenge. They may not know that they are sick. So, they will not isolate themselves and end up spreading it to many close contacts,” said health secretary J Radhakrishnan.
Scientists have warned that Omicron is immune evasive and spreads faster than any other Covid variant. “Preliminary data on contact tracing in the state has shown that the spread among close contacts and in closed unventilated rooms is significantly and extremely high,” Radhakrishnan said.

Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/54-test-positive-at-hospital-in-chennai-39-may-have-omicron/articleshow/88498594.cms