Indian Catholic hospital closed after nuns tested positive for COVID-19

The St. Vincenza Gerosa Hospital in Dibrugarh district in India’s Assam state has been temporarily closed after 12 nuns and a worker tested positive for the new coronavirus disease on July 6.

Father Felix Anthony of Miao Diocese said the superior of the hospital, who tested positive with the disease on July 3, developed symptoms upon her return from a visit to Guwahati City.

The other members of the community, including a domestic help, were also found infected with the disease on July 4, reported Vatican News.

The hospital, which is run by the Sisters of Charity of Saints Bartolomea Capitanio and Vincenza Gerosa, was temporarily sealed off to prevent the spread of the virus.

Authorities have been gathering swab samples of other hospital staff, patients, and visitors to be tested at the Regional Medical Research Center in Dibrugarh.

Out of the 12 nuns, four are elderly and are considered high-risk for coronavirus disease infection.

Bishop Joseph Aind of Dibrugarh Diocese said he is saddened that the hospital, which has been serving the region for 50 years, is now closed.

“It is sad that the lifeline hospital of people in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh has now been sealed,” said the prelate, reported Vatican News.

“My heart goes out to all the sisters and the inmates of [the hospital],” said the bishop.

The hospital was established in 1970 to extend health services to the poor in the region and help people stay out of alcohol and drug addiction.

It is a 70-bed capacity general hospital with a full-fledged psychiatric unit. It has a drug rehabilitation center called Mercy Home and a general nursing and midwifery unit. 

Bishop Aind urged the faithful to pray for the “quick recovery of the nuns and for the re-reopening of the hospital.”

The Bambina Sisters first came to Kolkata, India, on March 11, 1860, and have since expanded into the other parts of the country.

The congregation has eight provinces in India, including the one in Guwahati.

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