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At Delhi’s Covid care centres, basics in place, room for improvement

At present, those who have either mild or no symptoms are being referred to these facilities and are given basic medical support.

Written by Ananya Tiwari | New Delhi | Published: June 22, 2020 3:40:59 am
At Nehru Homeopathic Hospital, one of the 14 centres

With the L-G ordering that all those who test positive in the city are to report to Covid care centres for assessment, patients quarantined in these facilities say that while basic systems are in place, a few snags remain. At present, those who have either mild or no symptoms are being referred to these facilities and are given basic medical support.

At the Government Girls Senior Secondary school at Badarpur, which has 83 patients, Mangal Sharma (46), who works as a private driver and lives near South Extension Part II, was admitted on June 18 after his test report from Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital confirmed he was positive a day earlier. “I got a call from the hospital that they are sending an ambulance,” he said. On arrival he was given a bucket, soap for cleaning clothes, toothpaste and brush and a blanket/sheet.

Sharma said authorities asked him if he had a private bathroom at home that could be used by him exclusively. “I have three family members at home and we all share one bathroom. They said that I will have to go to the centre. Authorities came home and sanitised everything,” he said.

Housed in a room with four people, he said lunch and dinner are satisfactory but he wished that they considered the diets of patients: “I have diabetes, and in the morning they give bread with jam… My sugar levels are fine and monitored by doctors.”

He said cleanliness is also a concern: “They haven’t taken the sheets of previous inmates who have left, they are just lying there. We were given just one soap bar and I had to ask my family to send more.”

A doctor stationed at the school checks them daily, and patients are allowed to take a walk in the playground.

Delhi government nodal officer Dinesh Kuman Dondyan said they would raise the issue of meals with the vendor. “We will inform the vendor about this, though we do not give sweet food as such. Patients with co-morbidities have been eating the same food as others.”

If patients housed at the facility develop moderate or serious symptoms, they are deferred to dedicated Covid hospitals which have ICU beds, ventilators, along with oxygen support.

At present, there are 1,426 patients in 14 Covid care centres across the city. There is space for 4,883 more.

At Terapanth Bhawan in Chhatrapur, Deepali (27) who has been admitted since June 18, with her daughter Khushi (11) joining on June 20, said she is satisfied with the facilities. “One room is shared with another person, and there is a toilet, balcony and AC. The food is also good.”

Having a sore throat, the South Delhi resident, whose husband has been working since the lockdown as an employee of a supplier of medical material such as PPE and medicines, got tested at Madan Mohan Malviya Hospital on June 17. Four days later, she got a call from the hospital informing her of the result and that an ambulance will take her to the centre.

“I get a call thrice from the doctor, who checks if we are ok. I am currently having paracetamol and vitamin C. But there is no thermometer to check if I have temperature, though the doctor gives us medicines if we feel that we have it.” The facility has 170 patients currently, and has the capacity to house 180.

Naresh Kumar, in-charge of the facility, said, “Doctors check on them twice a day, and if needed, also visit them.”

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