Updated: May 17, 2021 6:58:50 am
As Cyclone Tauktae made its way northward along the coast of Karnataka and Maharashtra on Sunday evening, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) scrambled to move patients from Covid Centres to government hospitals in the city.
Until late in the evening, a total 603 Covid-19 patients had been moved out of three jumbo facilities in the city, including 243 from the BKC facility, 184 from the Dahisar facility, and 176 from Mulund.
Some were discharged, the rest were admitted to hospitals run by the state government and the civic body.
According to the India Meteorological Department’s 10 pm bulletin, Tauktae was located about 220 km south-southwest of Mumbai at 8.30 pm, and was moving north-northwestward at a speed of about 19 km/hour.
Already classified as a very severe cyclonic storm, Tauktae was very likely to intensify further over the next 24 hours, and was expected to reach the Gujarat coast in the evening of May 17, the IMD said. Mumbai was not expected to suffer any major effects of the storm.
Through Sunday, several doctors and medical staff in PPE were seen moving in and out of the BKC Covid Centre as ambulances equipped with oxygen ferried patients to the hospitals.
“Out of the 243 patients, 198 were shifted without any issues while the rest have been discharged. This is a temporary measure keeping the cyclone in mind. In a day or two, the government will take a decision on moving patients back to the BKC Covid Care Centre. As of Sunday night no patients are left at the Covid Care Centre,” Dr Rajesh Dere, in charge of the BKC jumbo centre, said.
An official of the state health department said, “Patients in critical condition will now be treated at the same hospital and will not be transferred back to the jumbo centres as it could impact their condition.”
Relatives of patients waiting anxiously outside the centre were told they would be informed by phone or a text message once the patient had been moved.
“There is nothing to worry about. We have ensured there is enough oxygen and medical staff in each ambulance,” a doctor involved in the process said.
A line of ambulances was seen parked outside the centre. On the other side of the road stood policemen from the area and a platoon of the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF).
Thirty-year-old engineer Akash Shukla, a resident of Vasai, said his mother Pushpa, 55, had been admitted to the BKC Covid Centre on May 1.
“I am waiting for them to inform me where she is being moved. She is in the ICU. They said they would text us once the shifting is done. We are not allowed to travel with our patient,” Shukla said.
Another man, who was standing anxiously with his father, said: “My 61-year-old mother is being moved to Seven Hills Hospital.” As the ambulance pulled out, the two men were seen following the vehicle on a scooter.
A man who identified himself as Anil Kuveskar said, “They informed me at 1.30 am on Sunday that my brother had been moved to St George Hospital.”
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