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Pune: Help in hospitalisation if Covid patients in home isolation turn critical, say families

PCMC has set up a call centre that makes nearly 10,000 calls a day to patients in home isolation.

Written by Manoj Dattatrye More | Pune |
Updated: April 23, 2021 2:30:05 pm
Pimpri-Chinchwad police are conducting rapid antigen tests of people who are found roaming around without any valid reason. (Express Photo)

With Covid-19 active cases surging in Pimpri-Chinchwad, 70 to 80 per cent of asymptomatic or those with mild symptoms continue to be in home isolation. By Thursday evening, Pimpri-Chinchwad had 15,348 COVID patients in home isolation. For its part, the PCMC health department said it was closely monitoring the patients by making at least one call a day.

“Every day we are making one call to the patients to get updates from him or her… We will make the call till the 14-day isolation period is over,” PCMC health chief Dr Anil Roy told this paper on Friday.

PCMC has set up a call centre, the work of which has been outsourced. “As of now, we are making 10,000 calls a day to patients in home isolation. It will go up as the patient count increases. In the next two-three days, we should be making 15,000 calls a day if the number remains around that figure,” said Dr Roy.

However, what is important is that the families of home-isolated patients have to remain extra alert if the patient’s mild symptoms suddenly turn severe. In that case, the families will have to then search for an oxygen or ventilator depending on the oxygen saturation level or the overall condition of the patient.

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“Our job is to take the updates of patients and guide and counsel them through a team of doctors. In case the patient’s condition deteriorates, their families will have to search for a hospital bed. We have provided two helpline numbers where we give out information regarding beds available in civic and private hospitals. The helpline numbers are 020 67331151,52,” said Dr Roy.

Families say if a patient is home-isolated, the hospital concerned or PCMC should take the responsibility of admitting the patient in the hospital if he develops severe symptoms. “If the concerned hospital or PCMC cannot take the responsibility, then at least proper guidance till the patient finds a bed should be provided. Many a time, the helpline number is busy or the persons simply provide the number of hospitals and hang up. If we call the hospitals, they say they have no beds available,” said Dhanashree Patil, a resident of Gurav Pimple, whose condition had worsened after six days of home isolation.

“My family searched for a bed for the entire day. Even my office people searched for the bed but without luck. It was only 24 hours later through an acquaintance I got a bed in an Auto Cluster facility. By that time, my oxygen saturation level had dipped to 75 per cent and I was diagnosed as a critical patient,” said Patil, who has since recovered from Covid.

The family of Shrikant Gaikwad of Kasarwadi also had to make tremendous efforts to find a bed after his condition deteriorated only after two days of home isolation. “It is not an easy task for those home isolated to find a bed if their condition worsens. That PCMC is making a call every day is fine, but it should also help in hospitalisation of home isolated patients if there is a need,” said Shridhar Gaikwad, brother of Shrikant, who died a few days after being admitted to the hospital.

Meanwhile, the PCMC administration has moved a proposal before the civic standing committee for spending Rs 2.34 crore  on the call centre set up for home isolation. According to the proposal, PCMC will incur an expenditure of Rs 13 per patient. The work has been allotted to a private party for a period of three months.

In another decision, the PCMC has set up a crematorium coordination helpline for families to help in the last rituals of COVID patients. The facility will be available 24 X 7. The helpline number is 020-67331155.  “The objective behind the move is to reduce the waiting period for performing the last rites of the deceased,” said civic officials.

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