At a Covid Care Centre set up by the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), patients have complained about lack of basic amenities and demanded that they either be shifted to “appropriate centres” or sent home for isolation.
About a fortnight ago, PCMC set up the Covid Care Centre at Tathawade after taking temporary possession of a college in the area. Patients who have tested positive but are asymptomatic are quarantined at the centre. As of Sunday, there were around 170 patients at the centre. All of them are housed on the third and fourth floors.
But the patients have complained to the authorities about lack of blankets, milk for children, tea and inadequate number of washrooms and bathrooms.
Twentytwo-year-old Sheetal (name changed), who was admitted at the centre three days back, said, “My mother, grandmother and I were admitted three days ago. Since that day, we have not been provided blankets. Covid patients can suddenly get bouts of fever even if they are asymptomatic. Everyone is looking for blankets but there is no response from the authorities.”
Her grandmother (75), who suffers from high blood pressure and diabetes, complained that it was difficult for her to go to the washroom. “I need to regularly use the bathroom as I suffer from diabetes. Whenever I go, there are at least 20-30 women in queue. My knees also ache, I can’t stand in queue for long,” she said. And the toilet blocks, Sheetal alleged, are not cleaned regularly.
She added, “I have no symptoms though I have tested positive. I tested positive eight days back. And I was at home for five days where at least washroom facility was available. Here, it is a nightmare for a diabetic patient like me.”
Sheetal said, “There are several babies and their mothers here. Yesterday, they were struggling for milk. I saw the women desperately asking the staff to get milk but the staff said it was not available. Everyday, there is a crowd at the reception area trying to meet the officials but there is no sign of them.” Sheetal said they are trying to shift to the Balewadi centre where the conditions were better.
Another elderly patient said refreshments like tea are difficult to get at the centre. “Yesterday afternoon, tea was brought by an employee. After he distributed it to some patients, it was over. When the patients asked him to come for another round, he said it was not possible.”
Sheetal said two doctors are available only between 10 am and noon. “On the first day when we came here, we were told if we get fever or feel uneasy we should see the doctor only between 10 am and noon when they are available. “What if something happens to a patient after noon,” she asked.
A PCMC employee said, “One of our colleagues who tested positive was kept at the Tathawade centre. He told us the conditions were appalling.”
Sunil Pawar, health in-charge of the centre, said there were problems with blankets but that has been sorted. “The centre was set up just 15 days back. Certain things were lacking but we have now put everything in order,” he said.
Sitaram Bhavre, ward officer of “D” division, said the centre is regularly disinfected and cleaned. “Though there was shortage of blankets, yesterday we ensured adequate stock. As for milk shortage, I have not received any complaint. It is also not true that doctors are available only for two hours. We have doctors all the time,” Bhavre said, adding that there are four washrooms and two bathrooms on the two floors where the patients are isolated.
Meanwhile, the PMC administration denied charges that 28 suspected coronavirus patients had fled a quarantine centre at Erandwane due to poor hygienic conditions. PMC official Rajendra Mutthe, who is in-charge of the centre, said, “The patients fled because their test reports got delayed by two days. I have got information from ward officials who told me they had ensured proper hygienic conditions at the centre.” Mutthe said as soon as they fled, PMC teams reached their homes and brought them back. As for lax security that allowed them to flee, Mutthe said, “The group was big and that’s why security staff could not stop them. We cannot place 40-50 security personnel at one centre.” Six of those who fled were later found positive.
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