While Kerala continues to have the highest number of cases in India, Pathanamthitta district in southeast Kerala has brought the state some good news and much needed relief. It has discharged five patients--among the first set of COVID-19 cases in the district, on March 30, 2020.

This was a day when the state reported its second COVID-19 related death, and India reported the largest surge in new cases so far when the number rose by 227 to total 1,251, Coronavirus Monitor shows.

All of the nurses and cleaning staff who had stayed full time in the isolation ward to ensure the wellbeing of the infected family have now gone back home. We had reported that five of the seven staff nurses had young children below the age of five. Although back home now, they remain in quarantine so have not yet been reunited with their families and children.

“I want to leave only after their tests are confirmed negative and they are discharged,” Anugeeth A G, a staff nurse, had told us on the phone from the isolation ward on March 19. She is now returned to her 10-month-old daughter who was in her parents' care.

To recoup and rest after two weeks in the isolation ward tending to the patients, the hospital administration has given the staff two weeks’ quarantine leave. “Meanwhile, the staff & doctors will be on duty for 10 days in rotation,” said Mohankumar, the resident medical officer.

(Compiled by Shreehari Paliath)