18 nuns of St Mary's convent at Chunangamveli of Aluva in Kerala’s Ernakulam district have tested positive for the coronavirus. Two of them tested positive on Monday while the remaining 16 results returned positive on Tuesday.
On July 15, Sister Claire, a nun from the convent, had passed away and later her COVID-19 test results returned positive. All the other nuns who have now tested positive were primary contacts of the 82-year-old nun, who died at a private hospital.
Some among the 18 nuns were shifted to a private hospital while others were admitted to the Kalamassery Medical College and hospital.The test results of around 20 nuns are awaited.
There are two convents in the area and the Kerala Health Department has collected samples of all nuns present. They have been placed in quarantine at the convent itself.
The source of infection for Sister Claire is not yet known. After her samples returned positive, apart from the nuns, a few doctors and nurses at a private hospital where she was treated were also placed in quarantine. All their results returned negative. She was under treatment for heart ailments.
Ernakulam district has recorded five COVID-19 deaths so far. The district is the second highest in the state in the number of coronavirus cases. At present, 832 patients are under treatment in Ernakulam district while another 772 are under quarantine in a hospital as they are exhibiting symptoms of the coronavirus.
The high prevalence has been attributed to the spread of a cluster reported from Aluva as a few traders from markets in the area had tested positive.