Kandakadu Centre to become COVID hospital | Daily News

Kandakadu Centre to become COVID hospital

Head of the National Operation Centre for the Prevention of COVID-19 Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva.
Head of the National Operation Centre for the Prevention of COVID-19 Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva.

The quarantine centre in Kandakadu operating under the Army has been converted into a COVID-19 treatment hospital anticipating more new cases to surface from Kandakadu Rehabilitation and Treatment Centre, said the Head of the National Operation Centre for the Prevention of COVID-19 Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva yesterday.

Speaking to the Daily News he said the results of PCR tests conducted on the inmates and staff of the Kandakadu Drug Rehabilitation Centre has confirmed 196 COVID-19 positive cases by Thursday evening and another 87 confirmed cases by last evening. Accordingly, the latest detection raises the total number of COVID-19 patients at the Kandakadu Rehabilitation and Treatment Centre to 339 patients.

There are around 1150 persons at these two centres.

The latest developments come following the detection of a COVID-19 patient at the Welikada prison in Colombo recently.

Following this detection, 56 persons were identified to have been infected with the virus at the Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre in Kandakadu, which is operated by the Bureau of the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation under the Justice Ministry.

Army Commander Lt. Gen. Silva said that PCR tests are being carried out on inmates of both Kandakadu and Senapura Rehabilitation Centers. “We will be conducting continuous tests until tomorrow (12) as we suspect that more could test positive. On Thursday we converted the Army Quarantine Centre in Kandakadu into a Covid-19 Treatment Hospital. It has a capacity to accommodate around 500 patients. All the inmates of these facilities who have tested positive would be treated at this hospital,” he said.

When asked if there was a possibility that the infection could spread in the community through these latest infections, the Army Commander said that while it cannot be completely ruled out, they had taken all possible measures to prevent a community spread and contain the infection to the centre.

“However, there are military and civilian staff members serving at these facilities and some have gone out of the centres by Thursday. But, we managed to trace all of them and around 97% of them have been brought back and their family members and those who had come in contact with them have been asked to either self-quarantine or have been brought to quarantine centres.”

He noted that during the lockdown from March to May, no visitors were allowed at the Kandakadu and Senapura Rehabilitation Centres. “However, when we allowed visitors to these centres around 116 family members of the inmates had come to visit them. Even some of the inmates who tested positive have had family members visit them.

Although we have traced their families and directed them to quarantine centres or put them in self-quarantine, we cannot completely rule out the possibility of the infection being transmitted to others.”

Lt. Gen. Silva also noted that there are rumors being spread to create panic among the people about various covid-19 cases surfacing from various parts of the country.

Hence, he appealed to the public not to be misled by these rumors and only trust the news that is being provided by the Government Information Department or the National Operation Centre for the Prevention of Covid-19.

“During the lockdown the public complied with all the health guidelines issued by the health authorities. However, recently we noticed that people are not complying with these precautionary measures and seemed to have forgotten about the danger. I appeal to the people to comply with the health guidelines as we are still not out of danger. People should not let their guard down and must be more vigilant and take precautions,” he added.

Over 40 people from 10 families in Marawila were also placed in self-isolation after a woman from the area, who served as a counselor at the Kandakadu Rehabilitation and Treatment Centre, tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.

The Army Commander assured that all possible measures have been taken to prevent the spread of the virus, urging the public not to be misled by rumormongers using social media platforms to spread rumors. He said that the facts about the latest developments would be notified to the public through the proper channels as the Government did during the lockdown. 

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