The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has issued guidelines on handling and transporting bodies of Covid-19 patients who die at home.
Srinivas Kandul, Chief Engineer at PMC, said if a Covid-19 patient dies at home, then his or her relatives should inform the ward medical officer of the respective ward office of the area through phone and provide details of the deceased, which includes name, age, address, relative’s name and contact number.
“There have been a few Covid-19 deaths at home. Till now, there has been no proper system in place for the disposal of bodies as per protocol and there have been a lot of problems. Relatives of people who die from Covid infection at home face problems in disposing of the dead while civic staff do not know how to handle such cases for cremation. So, the guidelines have been issued for relatives and ward medical officers for disposing of the bodies,” said Kandul.
Kundal said the relatives of the deceased should apply for a cremation pass through an online facility by registering the information and uploading documents. “The relatives should wear a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kit and put the body in the bag provided by the ward medical officer and load it in the ambulance,” the guidelines state.
The ward medical officer should post the information of the deceased in the WhatsApp group of civic staff, ‘Covid Cremation’, and hand over the PPE kit as well as body bag to the relatives of the deceased. Civic staff should disinfect the house and the nearby area and book a vehicle for transporting the body for cremation.
The PMC has also decided to provide cold storage cabins at the crematoriums. “We have provided two cold storage cabins at each of the crematoriums to keep the bodies if any are awaiting cremation. Till now, a body used to remain in an ambulance at the crematorium waiting for its turn. This also made ambulances unavailable for transporting other Covid-19 bodies. Now, the bodies will be kept in cold storage cabins and the ambulance will leave immediately to transport other bodies,” Kandul said.
The PMC is registering at least 50 Covid-19 deaths every day, including 10 from outside the city limits.
The PMC has allocated a dedicated vehicle for each of the crematoriums to bring bodies, said Kundal, adding that the cremation of Covid-19 bodies will take place round-the-clock at Kalias and Yerawada crematoriums, while at the other seven crematoriums in Aundh, Pashan, Katraj, Dhankawadi, Mundhwa, Koregaon Park and Bibewadi, cremation will take place from 8 am to midnight.
In case of a Covid-19 death at a hospital, the hospital has to get a cremation pass through an online facility, prepare the body and transport it to the crematorium via its available vehicle or request the PMC Transport Cell to provide a vehicle. The driver of the vehicle, with the help of deputed persons at the crematorium wearing PPE kits, will take the body out of the vehicle.
Those deputed for disposing of Covid-19 bodies at a crematorium will be responsible to keep the body in a cold storage cabin if there is already an earlier body being cremated, and will disinfect the cabin, ambulance and nearby area after disposing of the body, according to the guidelines.
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