ITANAGAR, Jul 7: A seven-month-old baby from Arunachal reportedly died at the North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health & Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS) in Shillong (Meghalaya) on Monday within hours of testing positive for Covid-19.
“On their arrival, the swab samples of the baby were collected and sent for tests. The baby boy tested positive for Covid-19, and died in the evening,” Meghalaya Health Minister AL Hek said.
The parents and their driver, however, tested negative for the disease, he said.
Reportedly, the infant had been referred to the NEIGRIHMS on 4 July from the Tomo Riba Institute of Health & Medical Sciences (TRIHMS), as the baby, who was being treated for disseminated tuberculosis (CNS abdomen pulmonary), had also developed hydrocephalus and needed neurosurgery.
The parents obtained interstates plying permit from the district administration and reached Shillong early in the morning of Monday.
“The baby was initially treated at the NEIGRIHMS in February for CNS, pseudomonas, pneumonia and hydrocephalus. However, after the lockdown they could not go back to the NEIGRIHMS, so they brought the baby here,” said a paediatrician who attended to the baby boy at the TRIHMS.
“When pneumonia and hydrocephalus were not improving, it was needed to refer to the NEIGRIHMS for neurosurgery. So we referred on Saturday,” said the doctor.
The doctor added that the report of the infant testing positive has shocked the doctors and nurses at the TRIHMS and they have provided their swab samples for tests.
When contacted, the relatives of the baby boy said the report about the child being Covid-19 positive “is suspicious and could be a false positive case.”
“Since both parents and the driver have tested negative, how come the infant tested positive? It must certainly be a false positive,” said the relative.
On being contacted, Health Secretary P Parthiban informed that the body of the infant was cremated in Itanagar following the Covid-19 procedures.
The health secretary denied that there was any lapse in procedure, saying that as per the SOP, they were not subject to being tested as the child had CNS and respiratory issue since February.
Seventy-six contacts were traced at the TRIHMS who had come in close contact with the deceased child. Sixty samples have so far been collected from among them for tests.