With Covid cases rising all over Punjab, Bathinda too has seen a spike in the last three weeks. From 349 cases on July 31 to 1,832 cases till August 22, Bathinda has added 1,488 cases in the last 22 days. In the same period, the number of deaths have surged from 5 to 23. But strangely the district has no Level 3 beds, and the only recourse is Faridkot Medical College.
A close look at the hospital inventory of Bathinda reveals that Covid Care Centres (CCCs) in the districts have 1,500 beds (Level 1), while Level 2 facilities have 265 beds in government facilities along with 70 in private hospitals. However, for Level 3(critical patients), Bathinda has no facility and patients have to travel to Faridkot which is 70 km away from the district or patients also travel to tertiary care hospitals of Ludhiana.
Deputy Commissioner B Srinivasan while talking with The Indian Express said,’’We have a tie up with private hospitals for Level 2 patients, but for Level 3, we refer patients to Government Medical College, Faridkot. Few go to private hospitals of other districts on their own.”
However, sources revealed that private hospitals in Bathinda have not offered Level 3 beds. This means that the district had no ventilator dedicated for Covid patients. Though private hospitals have ventilators, this facility is not for Level 3 patients. “If need arises, we can get a Level 3 facility as well created in private hospitals. We need to get it notified from the government. Hence, bed numbers can always increase near future,” said the DC.
Meanwhile the district has 14 ambulances in government hospitals and 12 through the 108 system. Only one BLS (basic life saving) ambulance is available at Badal village’s Civil Hospital, which is 30 km away from Bathinda, but it falls in Muktsar district. Badal village is native village of former Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal and even Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal.
About the surge in cases, the DC said, “In the last 10 days, more than 800 cases were reported in Bathinda, out of which 400 are refinery labourers, 150 from Army cantonment and central jail. In these locations people are being quarantined before entering inside. So spread is rare to other areas. Apart from this, around 300 cases have been reported in district Bathinda in different locations. For containing infection in these locations, we have notified 12 micro containment zones till now. Our testing capacity has also increased from 300 per day to 1,000 per day recently. As testing has increased, so the number of positive cases have also increased. However, the majority of cases are mild.”
The district has 10 static locations and 10 mobile teams for testing. Meanwhile, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has started their OPD services in the upcoming AIIMS’s building and they had even announced starting testing of patients, but so far it has not being done.
“AIIMS is purchasing equipment, and testing labs will start in their building soon,” said the DC.
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