The state has called upon the district administration to ramp up infrastructure and augment hospital bed strength, in the wake of rising Covid-19 cases.
State Medical Education Secretary Dr Sanjay Mukherjee told The Indian Express that they had urged the Divisional Commissioner’s office to make at least 1,000 beds operational for coronavirus patients at Sassoon General Hospital.
Anticipating at least 27,000 active cases of Covid-19 by July end, the district administration has stepped up measures to augment the capacity of oxygenated and ICU beds at both private as well as government hospitals. Saurabh Rao, officer on special duty at the Divisional Commissioner’s office, said there was a backlog of beds to be increased, and that daily, they were asking each hospital in the city and surrounding areas to increase the number.
“We will also require more ICU beds and ventilators, apart from oxygenated beds, and have appealed to doctors to work on a mission mode to increase bed strength,” Rao said. “Some have placed three beds in a semi-deluxe room, and at their level, private hospitals are cooperating with the administration.”
There were issues relating to providing real-time data by hospitals regarding availability of beds on the dashboard managed by the Divisional Commissioner’s office. However, Rao said they had updates from private hospitals, and that Inlaks and Budhrani hospital have now extended another 200 beds – they now have a total of 310 beds for Covid-19 patients. Ruby Hall Clinic has also updated its bed strength. While they earlier had 150, they will now provide 400 beds for Covid-19 patients.
Over 650 beds to be operational at Sassoon by July end
At a meeting of 30-odd hospitals on Thursday, Rao, along with District Collector Naval Kishore Ram, emphasised the need for stepping up bed strength, and said they had plans to upgrade to 950 beds at Sassoon Hospital by converting psychiatry and the burns wards (among others) to Covid-19 wards. Authorities at Sassoon said at least 680 beds will be operational by July end.
Presently, there are 67 ICU beds at Sassoon, which will be increased to a total of 120, said S Chokalingam, land settlement commissioner, who has been made the nodal officer in-charge of Covid-19 at Sassoon.
Hospital authorities said that of the present 538 beds, another 150 can be accommodated by opening up the epidemic diseases ward, and using the orthopaedic ward section. However, concerns were raised during a meeting later on Thursday as to whether it will be advisable to accommodate another 150 patients in old buildings – which do not have proper ventilation – at Sassoon. However, plans will have to be made to separate entrances and exits to ensure that non-Covid patients in these wards are not infected, authorities added.
‘Incorrect data entry has state recording higher number of active cases in Pune’
According to the July 22 data of 1.36 lakh active cases of coronavirus, Pune has the highest numbers, with a total of 39,353 active cases and 22,484 recoveries. The number of active cases in Pune district is higher than that in Mumbai (23,393) and Thane (36,180), according to Public Health Department data of July 22.
However, District Collector Naval Kishore Ram, while addressing media queries on varying figures provided by the district administration and state regarding active cases, said there has been a problem of reporting cases at the data entry level. Most times, when patients are discharged from hospitals, it does not reflect on the portal as discharged, and continues to remain as an active case, Ram said.
Presently, there are 13,480 active patients across government and civic hospitals, and 11,913 active patients across private hospitals in Pune, Ram added. When contacted, state officials said they had noted the high number of active cases from Pune and were in the process of updating the correct numbers.
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