‘Changed Perception Of Govt’: Covid-Negative Man From Karnataka Whose Quarantine Ends Narrates A Tale Of Efficient Management

‘Changed Perception Of Govt’: Covid-Negative Man From Karnataka Whose Quarantine Ends Narrates A Tale Of Efficient Management

by Harsha Bhat - Tuesday, April 21, 2020 05:09 PM IST
‘Changed Perception Of Govt’: Covid-Negative Man From Karnataka Whose Quarantine Ends Narrates A Tale Of Efficient ManagementThe stamp of quarantine. (Representative Image)
  • Who says India cannot measure up to the challenges posed by a dangerous virus such as Corona? The story of Hari is a first-person tribute to the sincere efficiency of the Karnataka government.

As the country battles the Coronavirus outbreak, the tales of those who have recovered or been through the rigours of quarantine are a silver lining to the dark clouds of gloom cast by the epidemic.

“Finally done with my quarantine”, was Hari’s (name changed to protect identity) text this Monday morning. And that was more of a declaration of life returning to what it was before he took that trip from Bengaluru back home in Kadur, a small town in Chikamagalur district of Karnataka, one month ago on 19 March.

But it has also changed his perception of the government, the way the system functions and the efforts being taken at the hyper-local level to ensure the disease and its spread are contained.

On month ago, on 21 March, Hari had a serious bout of cold and fever and with the Corona precautions around, he called up the helpline and headed directly to the local government hospital in Kadur.

He had no international travel history, but the cab he took from home to the railway station in Bengaluru had picked two foreigners from the Bengaluru International Airport and dropped them in the city.

The hospital authorities took down details of the train he took to Kadur as well as the Uber cab.

As his cough and high fever continued despite medication, he was asked to get admitted as an inpatient at the special exclusive Corona ward as a suspect case.

“ I was literally shocked to see the measures taken in a local government hospital. It was so hygienic and clean and the support of the doctors is what I won’t forget for a long time to come”, recalls Hari.

All this had taken place between 5 am and 8 am. But by 10 am, the chief doctor was there along with local health officials. The rigour with which they went at it afterwards was something he didn’t sign up for.

In the next two hours, health officers — all clad in PPE — took his throat swab, blood samples and x-ray for the Corona test.

As the preliminary tests were symptomatic, the hospital decided to move him to the district hospital at Chikamagalur, which is 40 km away form Kadur, for treatment under isolation.

“I was shifted in a completely sanitised ambulance and the isolation ward was all set to handle Corona cases with ventilators, oxygen, emergency staff all in place”.

His temperature was still high after taking his second round of throat swab and blood samples, hence they began administering saline treatment to bring the temperature under control.

“While my fever was hurting me, the facilities and the way the treatment was being undertaken was a ray of hope. Be it food or hygiene, I was pleasantly surprised that a government hospital was on a par with any super speciality private hospital,” says Hari, who was continuously monitored for the next three days, until his reports came negative.

He was also administered a shot of Hydroxychloroquine during his three days at the hospital.

“I was discharged immediately but due to the lockdown, I had no means to get back to Kadur. So I rang up the DHO who arranged for an ambulance immediately that took me back to Kadur,” explains Hari.

But the scenes back home also left him astonished as the entire surroundings had been sanitsied by the municipal corporation. The health officers and police officials who visited him the next day stuck a 14 day quarantined notice outside his office.

“They said two constables would be assigned to watch over me and alerted our neighbours too,” says Hari, who had to watch his steps even at the threshold of his house.

“They would be keeping vigil and it felt funny as they would be all eyes all the time.”

What followed was two weeks of vigil, with health officials visiting him everyday, noting down his vitals. They extended the quarantine to a total of 28 days that ends today.

But for the last four weeks, what he saw has filled him with pride and gratitude. The local MLA regularly checked up on him, while a separate garbage vehicle came to pick the garbage at his house as it was not to be mixed with that of the rest of the city.

The corporator turned up and assured that no one would need to step out as all essentials will be delivered to the house.

“I even got a call form our district in-charge minister CT Ravi to my astonishment. He asked me to take care and stay quarantined as it was important not just for me but our entire district. Even more surprising was when the local librarian called up and enquired what I would like to read. He got me books to ensure I didn’t get bogged down being quarantined,” explains a grateful Hari.

As his quarantine period got over yesterday, the police and health officials visited him this morning and gave him a certificate of discharge and of having completed the quarantine period.

“The entire town was sealed. Shops refused to give supplies to those not maintaining social distance and not wearing masks,” he says.

And all this despite not having a single Covid positive case.

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