COVID-19 clusters are forming within the health workers with several doctors having being infected with the virus despite being fully vaccinated in recent days, the Daily Mirror learns.
A senior medical source said that majority of the health workers including doctors who are on the forefront of the battle against the pandemic are symptomatic and are under treatment.
This has led to a shortage of manpower within the health sector, especially at a time when hospitals are filled to the maximum with new COVID-19 patients being detected daily.
While there is no official confirmation whether the health sector has been hit by the rapidly spreading Delta variant, senior officials said that considering the present situation, they suspect it was the Delta variant which was causing the havoc. Most of the hospitals across the country have run out of beds and the dependency on oxygen has risen considerably.
Noting the present situation, the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) has written to Director General of Health Services, Dr. Asela Gunawardena stating that several of its branch unions had informed them that they had observed an upward trend in reporting of COVID positive patients within the last few weeks.
The GMOA said “that to make matters worst”, significant numbers of health staff including doctors were detected COVID positive in the last few days.
“Most of them are fully vaccinated (with 02 doses of Covishield vaccine) against COVID-19,” the GMOA letter said.
The Association said that when analyzing the global trend they had observed that certain countries had arrived at policy decisions to inject a booster dose (3rd dose) of COVID vaccine to frontline workers including health staff, especially to protect them against new COVID variants which are of grave global concern.
“GMOA Executive Committee earnestly requests your good offices to refer this matter to relevant technical committees at national level and explore the possibility of arranging a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all categories of Health Staff and other frontline workers, who are at high risk of contracting the disease,” the GMOA letter to Dr. Gunawardena said.
In recent days some health workers have taken to social media highlighting the current situation with one even stating that the situation was ‘scary’.
One health worker, on Facebook said the percentage of the young population’s oxygen dependency had significantly increased compared to previous waves.
Some base hospitals said they were facing an average of 5 deaths per day from the virus.
Another health worker said that the COVID was far from over and presently Sri Lanka was hit by the worst wave ever.
“Stay home, wash hands and wear the mask,” another health worker wrote.
Tests are ongoing to identify the present hotspots of the Delta in the country as PCR tests do not detect what type of variant the patient has been infected with.(JAMILA HUSAIN)