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First corona death in Punjab: victim contracted it locally

First corona death in Punjab: victim contracted it locally

LAHORE: Reporting first death of a coronavirus patient on Tuesday, Punjab witnessed a slight decline in confirmed cases across the province.

According to official figures, only 19 more patients tested positive for the virus in the province, including seven in Lahore, on Tuesday. The number of fresh confirmed cases in Punjab on Monday was 24, including 18 in Lahore.

Resident of Sheikhupura, the first patient who died of the virus had no international travel history that meant he had contracted the virus locally, making it first death from the local transmission of the virus in Pakistan.

Punjab Health Minister Prof Dr Yasmin Rashid and the spokesperson for the health department confirmed that Afrasiab (57) died at the Mayo Hospital early Tuesday.

“The patient had visited Azad Kashmir following a death of his relative and most probably he carried the virus there when he attended funeral prayers,” says Mayo Hospital Chief Executive Prof Dr Asad Aslam Khan.

Talking to Dawn, he said Afrasiab was brought to the Mayo emergency late on Monday in serious condition.

Doctors on duty immediately sent his samples to the lab for confirmation of the virus, he said, adding that following his deteriorating health condition he was immediately shifted to the high dependency unit and put on ventilator. “Despite all efforts, he died suddenly, just like the sudden deaths of COVID-19 patients ocurring in Spain and Itally.”

Prof Asad said the virus had caused instant spread of the infection in his body which led to his sudden cardiac arrest.

The Mayo Hospital now houses a prime quarantine facility where most of the patients in Punjab are being shifted since the Covid-19 surfaced in Pakistan. The hospital was declared a centre for the patient management in the backdrop of coronavirus on the the directions of the Punjab chief minister, health minister and the specialized healthcare and medical education secretary.

Prof Asad Aslam elaborated in detail protocols and treatment process of corona patients at his hospital.

“A suspected patient is first attended at the Accident & Emergency Department where he/she is screened on the defined parameters by the dedicated team of doctors and nurses equipped with masks and kits,” said the CEO of the hospital.

The suspected patient is then transported by an ambulance to the AVH ward where he/she is quarantined.

The samples are sent to the Institute of Public Health (IPH) and the patient having negative reports is discharged whereas the one with positive results is isolated in the prescribed environment in the North Medical Ward.

“The positive patients are being treated with required medicines and food. The doctors and nurses attend those patients with proper dress code and other required protocols”, he said.

Considering the probable influx of suspected corona patients, the entire wards of Garhi Ward are being transformed with adequate arrangements, including masks, kits and personal protective equipment (PPE) for serving doctors, nurses and paramedics.

Presently, the Mayo Hospital has made arrangements for more than 150 corona patients with 16-bed ICU. The hospital is coordinating with the PKLI for making arrangements for the treatment of their corona patients.

“The government has planned to establish a make-shift hospital at the Expo Center, Johar Town, Lahore, for the treatment of 900 patients for which necessary requirements, including medicines, equipment and human resource have been assessed”, he said.

To a question, he said, the government was providing funds to the tertiary hospitals to procure medicines, equipment and hire required human resource for the treatment of corona patients.

“As of Monday, the Mayo Hospital has attended 72 patients. Presently, admitted patients are 32 out of which 24 are positive and eight suspected”, said Prof Khan.

Published in Dawn, March 25th, 2020

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