With over 15 persons working in the control room of the Centralised Accident and Trauma Services (CATS) in Delhi testing positive for COVID-19, some of its employees have expressed concern about long duty hours and lack of ventilation at the centre.
The control room is where CATS employees handle calls made to the ‘102’ helpline. It has about 25 employees working per shift of 12 hours each, with a break in between of 30-60 minutes, staff members said.
To fill up staff shortages after several workers were put into quarantine following employees testing positive, CATS workers on field were asked to join the control room duty around April 24, staff members said.
“We can’t get up from our seats for even a minute because the calls keep coming. The hall where we work does not have windows or an exhaust system for ventilation. There is centralised air-conditioning which is on all the time.
Having some type of ventilation would be good,” a staff member said.
All employees working in the control room have been given face masks, gloves and have hand sanitisers on their desk, a CATS official said. “In addition to that, we sanitise the control room thrice a day, and all staff maintain physical distance from each other. The air-conditioner is on and that helps in ventilation,” he added.
Those taking calls in the centre have to take details of the caller and assign an ambulance to take them to a hospital.
There is a dedicated ambulance for patients with COVID-19 symptoms, in which staff wear personal protective equipment.
Before workers in the control room tested positive, there used to be three shifts in a day, two of six hours each — from 8 am to 2 pm, and 2 pm to 8 pm — and one night shift of 8 pm to 8 am.
Employees working 12-hour shifts are given a day’s rest, a staff member said. “Two to four people go on a break at a time during the shift,” an employee said.
Another employee added, “We are tense but… we know that if we stop doing that, emergency services in Delhi would be brought to a standstill. We take all precautions both at office and after work.”
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