ECONOMYNEXT – One patient from the Medical Facility created at the Kandakadu Drug Rehabilitation and Treatment centre for COVID-19 patients has been transferred to the National Institute for Infectious Diseases Hospital in Angoda, officials said.
Dr Ananda Wijewickrema of the IDH told EconomyNext that the patient had developed symptoms and been transferred from the medical facility at the camp.
He said that the patients are being held there and are visited by a team of doctors from the Polonnaruwa Base Hospital and the Welikanda hospital.
“It is important to keep them there because the disease will not spread,” he said.
The Medical Facility, which is technically not a hospital, was set up after inmates at the camp tested positive. Up to now, more than 561 inmates have been found to be COVID positive. It is not known how many are in the medical facility.
Most of them are asymptomatic, officials said.
The decision to set up a medical facility and not move the COVID-19 positive cases from Kandakadu and the neighbouring Senapura camp was taken as these persons are recovering drug addicts.
Army Commander Lt General Shavendra Silva who also heads the National Operations Centre for the Prevention of COVID said that these patients could not be admitted to regular hospitals because they need other forms of treatment and also because there are security concerns.
Other officials said there was the possibility that these inmates would attempt to escape.
The inmates at the camp have been convicted by a court of law for being in possession of narcotics who are also addicts.
Their sentence includes the rehabilitation process through which they hope they will become free of the addiction.
The first patient from Kandakadu was detected on July 7 when a prisoner from the Welikada Prison was tested for COVID before he was transferred to Kandakadu.
Since then a total of 561 COVID-19 positive cases have been found in this cluster, the second largest after the Navy Cluster which yielded 906 cases.
Of the patients, 451 are inmates undergoing rehabilitation, 68 are staff members or visiting counsellors and 42 are associates and family members.
No new COVDI-19 patients were detected today, the Operations Centre said.
(Colombo, July 22, 2020-sb) Reported by Arjuna Ranawana