Anticipating a third wave of Covid-19, Maharashtra plans to scale up storage capacity of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) by 2,000 to 2,500 MT. The public health department has estimated its requirement will touch 4,000 MT per day in a worst case scenario in the third wave.
On Wednesday, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray held a review meeting to discuss existing storage capacity and how hospitals are faring.
The state currently can store 2,000 MT of LMO, including in medical colleges and hospitals under the public health department. On June 28, Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Dr Pradeep Vyas had written to all collectors to increase storage capacity for medical oxygen in districts. The collectors have said that apart from the existing ones, they will need to set up storage tanks for 2,000 MT.
Maharashtra currently produces 1,300 MT of LMO for industrial and medical use. There are 533 pressure swing adsorption plants in pipeline or already ready, which will produce 400 to 500 MT per day. In addition, the state expects to receive 5,500 oxygen concentrators from the Union government and another 4,000 to 5,000 concentrators through Corporate Social Responsibility funds.
In all, 20,000 concentrators will be available, officials said. The concentrators will produce an additional 150 MT of oxygen on a daily basis. While Maharashtra estimates to touch 2,000 MT of oxygen production on a daily basis, officials said they cannot accurately predict how much oxygen will be required during the third wave.
In the second wave, the state required a maximum of 1,850 MT per day. “If the third wave is less severe, then our existing capacity will be sufficient. But based on the Union government’s formula, we have calculated our oxygen requirement estimating a worst case scenario. Then oxygen needs will shoot up to 4,000 MT per day,” a senior health official said.
States have been asked to calculate their requirement based on the formula of intensive care unit patients needing 30 litre of oxygen per minute and non-ICU patients requiring 10 litre.
Earlier, Maharashtra had directed hospitals to use 20 litre for ICU and 7 litre per minute for non-ICU patients. With the rise in oxygen usage, the requirement will also increase. Officials said they may still need to rely on the Union government to allocate more oxygen if Maharashtra falls short.