The outpatient (OP) facility at Sri Venkateswara Institute of Medical Sciences (SVIMS), in Tirupati has been shut for four days after 40 of its staff including doctors tested positive for the novel coronavirus over the course of past one week.
The OP services that shut on Tuesday will be reopened in five days, said the hospital spokesperson.
SVIMS is the referral hospital to avail OP services in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh and caters to patients from several neighbouring towns and districts. The hospital is the nodal COVID-19 hospital for Chittoor district. "We have taken efforts to inform the public not to visit the hospital for the next five days. We receive patients from all across the state and the OP facility sees an influx of patients mostly from neighbouring towns and villages," said the hospital spokesperson to TNM on Wednesday.
Of the 40 persons tested positive, some have already recovered. "Some media have reported that 40 persons tested positive in a day, this is not true, they tested positive over the week", clarified the spokesperson who added that the OP services may not be resumed even after five days if more staff test positive.
Apart from SVIMS, BIRRD hospital has also suspended OP services. Both hospitals are managed by the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD).
Chittoor district in Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday saw 283 new COVID-19 cases being reported, taking the overall tally of positive cases in the district to 3,074. A majority of these cases were reported from the temple town of Tirupati.
Overall cases in the district stood at 1,510 with 15 deaths on July 7. A week later on Tuesday, the cases shot up to 3074 and 29 deaths, reported The New Indian Express. The spike in positive cases has municipal administration officials in Tirupati thinking about enforcing a lockdown for the temple town.
The spike in cases has also prompted officials to shut down the Srisailam temple in Kurnool district for a week after 26 cases were reported among temple staff within a span of two days, reported the paper.