Stepping up its preparedness to tackle any likely cases of novel coronavirus in the city, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has readied a 100-bed isolation ward at Naidu Hospital and also teamed up with 11 major private hospitals, where 40 beds in general rooms and 19 beds in ICU have been reserved to treat patients.
“The PMC started gearing up to tackle the situation about one-and-a half months ago by setting up an isolation ward for suspected cases at Naidu hospital. A total of 100 beds have been kept ready at the hospital for patients who have to be quarantined,” said Mayor Murlidhar Mohol after reviewing the civic body’s preparedness to handle the outbreak.
The civic body has also bought medicines worth Rs 15 lakh for the patients, said Mohol. A total of 306 passengers have arrived in Pune from countries affected by coronavirus. As many as 181 of them have completed the follow-up surveillance period of 14 days, while 125 passengers are still under surveillance.
Till now, 90 patients have been admitted to Naidu hospital and kept in the isolation ward, of whom 80 have tested negative and were discharged. The results of 10 patients — who recently returned from affected countries such as USA, Sweden, Italy, South Korea and Germany and self-reported symptoms like cough and fever — are awaited. The patients’ age group ranges from seven to 35 years, said PMC health authorities.
“Fortunately, no patient admitted in Naidu Hospital has tested positive so far. There are presently five patients who are suspected to be infected with the virus and their samples have been sent for testing,” said Mohol.
The PMC has deputed seven medical officers, one superintendent and one nodal officer at Naidu Hospital to track the situation.
“Naidu Hospital is prepared to handle the situation but if need be, we will also seek services of private hospitals… in 11 major private hospitals in the city, 40 beds, along with 19 ICU beds, have been reserved for suspected cases,” he said.
Mohol assured that the situation was under control and local residents should not be worried. “People should not believe in any rumours but they should take precautionary steps. They should follow basic norms such as avoiding handshakes, covering their mouths while coughing or sneezing and avoiding crowds. If they notice any symptoms of the infection, they should reach out to Naidu Hospital,” said Mohol.
Addressing the increasing price of face masks due to the sudden demand for them, the Mayor said there was a “misunderstanding” among the public that only specific masks needed to be used as protection. “The specialised masks are required only for people who are in contact with the infected people, and they are not required for everyone. The PMC has provided specialised masks to all those who come in contact with suspected patients in Naidu Hospital,” said Mohol, adding that the PMC had effectively tackled similar situations during the swine flu outbreak in the city in 2009.
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