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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Gujarat: Covid care centres in Morbi villages empty even as cases surge

Morbi district hospital, the only designated Covid-19 hospital run by the government in the district, has now 170 beds, including 10 ICU beds and on Friday, 30 beds were available but all of the 210 beds in three private designated hospitals, including 20 ICU beds, were occupied.

Written by Gopal Kateshiya | Rajkot |
Updated: April 16, 2021 9:00:08 pm
Gujarat covid Covid care centres in Morbi villages empty even as cases surgeA drive through Covid-19 RT-PCR test facility arranged at the GMDC ground in Ahmedabad. (Express Photo by Nirmal Harindran)

AS THE Covid-19 infection is ravaging rural Morbi, village panchayats and community organisations have set up around two dozen Covid care centres (CCS) in rural areas to treat asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic patients but except one, none of the facilities has recorded any admission till date.

Health officers of the district say that patients are weary to leave the safety of their homes, leading to more infections in some cases, and that those who are very sick are going to hospitals, resulting in lower uptake of CCC facilities.

According to official data, village panchayats and community organisations had activated 23 CCCs across Morbi district’s five talukas—Wankaner, Tankara, Morbi, Halvad and Maliya—between April 12 and April 14 and having total 413 beds.

However, till April 16, only the CCC in Tikar village in Halvad, had three patients admitted while the rest 22 had no patients, even as the district administration is in the process of setting up seven more CCCs.

“People are visiting the facility but are preferring to isolate themselves at their homes instead of staying in these institutional facilities. For example, one woman from nearby Mahika village came to our centre and her antigen test returned positive for Covid-19 today. But she said that she would isolate herself in her home and so, she was allowed to go,” Dr Sahista Kadivar, medical officer (MO) of Kothi primary health centre (PHC) in Wankaner taluka of Morbi and in-charge of the 6-bed CCC set up in the PHC said.

Dr Hiren Vansdadiya, MO of Bagathala PHC in Morbi taluka and in-charge of CCCs in Bagathala and Lalpar villages having 30 and 10 beds respectively, said people are showing a sense of resignation.

“Unlike during the first wave last year, people seem to be not afraid of Covid-19 anymore as in this second wave, the virus appears to have become more virulent. If one member of a family contracts Covid-19, almost all other members are also getting infected subsequently almost certainly. Therefore, people are preferring to stay in their homes,” Dr Vansdadiya said.

Bagathala sarpanch Haresh Kanjiya agreed with Dr Vansdadiya’s observation. “My entire family of seven members is down with Covid-19 for the past 10 days. We all have quarantined inside our homes,” said 52-year-old sarpanch.

Lalpar sarpanch Ramesh Vansdadiya too had contracted Covid-19 on March 27 and had to be hospitalised for three days. He has been camping in Bhachau, a town in Kutch district, 90 km away from Morbi, where his son-on-law has been admitted for Covid-19 treatment.

“Many of us had contracted coronavirus and my son-in-law’s health deteriorated. I discovered that hospitals in Morbi, Rajkot, Jamnagar and Surendranagar were full and therefore, I had to rush him to Bhachau. While I was away, I received a phone-call from the taluka development officer of Morbi about the need of setting up a CCC. So, we sourced some cots from village and set up the CCC in the building of primary school,” said the sarpanch.

Officially, Morbi has been recording average 50 cases of Covid-19 daily for the past one week and as of Friday, there were 460 active cases. The total number of cases is 4201 with 19 deaths.

Morbi district hospital, the only designated Covid-19 hospital (DCH) run by the government in the district, has now 170 beds, including 10 ICU beds and on Friday, 30 beds were available but all of the 210 beds in three private designated hospitals, including 20 ICU beds, were occupied. Of the 50 beds in dedicated Covid health centres (DCHCs) in Wankaner, Tankara and Halvad, 29 were occupied.

“Except two nursing colleges, Morbi district doesn’t have any medical or paramedical college hence we lack human resources. The situation is compounded by the fact that 120 of around 700 staff members working in the health department here are also down after contracting Covid-19,” Dr Chetan Varevadiya, in-charge chief district health officer (CDHO) of Morbi said.

“We are observing that this time round, more patients need oxygen support and therefore, we have converted 30 of the 300 beds in Patidar Samaj CCC in Morbi town into O2 (oxygen) beds,” Dr Varevadiya added.

Morbi district collector JB Patel said the CCCs will prove helpful, underlining the fact that occupancy was higher in CCCs set up in or on the periphery of Mobrbi town. “We have set up these CCCs where there is a PHC so that we don’t need additional staff. People, who do not have space for isolating themselves in their home can get themselves admitted to these CCCs,” he said.

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