To screen and isolate more Covid-19 patients in Dharavi, a hotspot with 1,425 positive cases and 56 deaths, the BMC launched on Thursday 18 mobile dispensaries in the area. The mobile dispensaries are ambulances with a doctor and a nurse, which will operate in the slum sprawl alongside the fever clinics and local dispensaries run by 350 private practitioners.
“These mobile dispensaries will be stationed at various places inside the slum and screen everyone, and even provide medical assistance to non-Covid patients. When needed, these will also double up as ambulances to transfer people to hospitals or quarantine centres,” Kiran Dighavkar, Assistant Municipal Commissioner of G-North ward, said.
Until Thursday, BMC screened over four lakh people, which is around half of the official population of the area. Dharavi’s estimated population is known to be 8.5 lakh, with migration being unaccounted for.
While 47 new cases were reported from Dharavi on Thursday, officials said fewer than 30 cases were reported on Tuesday and Wednesday due to aggressive screening and isolation of the suspected cases. On May 3, the slum had seen the highest single-day jump in cases with 94 new cases. “The only way to tackle the pandemic is by isolating people with symptoms. We want to screen the entire population of Dharavi twice,” an official said.
In addition to the existing quarantine facilities and hospitals for patients from Dharavi, the BMC is now creating a 200-bed Covid-care facility on a 5,000-square metre open plot opposite Mahim Nature Park.
Currently, the civic body has 3,000 beds at its quarantine facilities, which include Rajiv Gandhi Sports Complex, Dharavi Municipal School, Manohar Joshi Vidyalay, Mahim Nature Park, Ruparel College Hostel, Scout & Guide Hall, D’silva High School and various hotels and lodges in Mahim, Dadar, and Dharavi. Since Monday, Smile Foundation, an NGO, has placed its van with doctors in high-risk zones and are screening people and referring them to quarantine centres.
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