The Karnataka Health Department is on high alert after the number of COVID-19 positive students at the SDM Medical College in Dharwad city increased to 182 on Friday, November 26. At least 66 students had tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday morning and 116 more were confirmed to have tested positive later in the day. College sources told IANS that the students were infected after attending a function at an auditorium in the premises on November 17.
About 200 students and a few parents had participated in the programme. All of them have been directed to immediately get tested and to remain in isolation. All the COVID-19 infected students have been fully vaccinated and their symptoms are not serious. Until now, no positive cases have been reported outside and in the surrounding areas of the campus. Official sources told PTI that 690 people including students, staff and primary contacts have been tested so far.
District Commissioner Nitesh Patil has appealed to people to immediately get tested at nearby health centres if they show any kind of COVID-19 symptom. "Everyone should take precautions and follow COVID-19 guidelines," he appealed. There are about 3,000 staff working at the medical college. Testing will be done for all. Whoever tests positive, they will be quarantined and treated, he added.
Already, two hostels have been sealed. The infected students are being treated and served food in their hostel rooms. The movement is totally restricted and all possible measures to prevent infection from spreading are being initiated. It is predicted that the infection is within the cluster of students and it has not spread outside. "We will control it within this cluster," Patil said.
Besides the outbreak in the college, 34 students of an international boarding school in Bengaluru have also tested positive for the virus, forcing the management to shut down and begin online classes. The government and health department are repeatedly making appeals to people not to neglect social distancing and using masks at public places.
At least 32 students of the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, a residential school in Galibeedu village near Madikeri, tested positive for the coronavirus in the last week of October. However, the authorities were able to contain the spread of infection and all the students have recovered.