Continuing its daily rally of recording over 1,500 cases, Gujarat touched a new high with 1,540 fresh coronavirus cases on Wednesday. Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, who also holds the health portfolio, assured of additional capacity building in the coming days but refused to address concerns about the crunch in ICU beds, especially in Ahmedabad city.
As per Ahmedabad Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (AHNA), of the 651 private ICU beds in the 90 civic body requisitioned private hospitals, only 44 were vacant until 5 pm Wednesday, which is about seven per cent vacancy. Overall, 273 of the total 2,972 private beds were available in these hospitals.
As Ahmedabad city continues to report over 320 cases daily — the district reporting close to 350 cases — Patel on Wednesday toured a new building at a Kidney hospital, an extension of Medicity of which the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital is a part. Patel said the
10-storey building, being built at a cost of nearly Rs 500 crore, is “nearing completion” and “will be operational by January or February” next year.
The state, meanwhile, saw a significant jump in the number of Covid-19 tests — nearly 84,000 samples were tested across Gujarat Tuesday. Ahmedabad tested an additional 2,000 samples from the usual 12,000 tests it conducts per day. Thirty-one areas were designated as micro-containment zones in the Ahmedabad city. Restrictions were imposed on 220 households in residential society Indraprastha Tower in Thaltej area. In another housing society, Surel Apartment at Bodakdev, a total of 160 households were contained after at least a dozen cases were detected from the society. Narol, Vatva, Lambha, and Vastral areas continued to add more micro-containment zones .
Thirty new cases were reported from Kheda. The BJP MP from Kheda, Devusinh Chauhan, who was in Kevadia to attend the two-day 80th All India Presiding Officers’ Conference (AIPOC), also tested positive for the virus.
Fourteen deaths were also reported across Gujarat on the day. A head constable at Petlad police station in Anand, Rameshvan Goswami (52), succumbed to the infection. Goswami, who had joined on duty on November 23, had taken ill hours later. He had comorbidities including diabetes and blood pressure, police said. On Tuesday, head constable Dilipbhai Bhikhabhai with Ahmedabad city police succumbed to the virus.
Based on daily core-committee meetings, Patel said that it has been decided “if need be, part of the new building (at the Kidney hospital) will be made operational for treatment of Covid-19 patients”.
“The third floor (of the building) has a capacity of treating 168 patients with a provision for equipping beds with oxygen nearing completion. On the fourth floor, another 168 patients can be treated and provision of oxygen beds have been completed. Thus, a total of 336 patients can be treated here. If need be, 56 ICU beds have been provisioned with ventilators. Approximately by November 30, Covid-19 patients can be treated at this new kidney hospital building… We are hoping that cases will drop with the night curfew and other measures in place, but in case it doesn’t, we are prepared,” said Patel.
The new facility, he added, was expected to be ready for provisional Covid-19 treatment in the next seven days.
On Tuesday, 500 doses of Bharat Biotech’s vaccine candidate, Covaxin, were delivered at Gujarat Medical Education and Research Society (GMERS), Sola, chosen as one of the trial sites by the ICMR, to start clinical trials, Patel said. Sola Civil Hospital will be the only site for the trial of the vaccine candidate across Gujarat, as per the clinical trials registry that was last modified on November 20.
Around 1,000 participants are expected in the double-blind trials, where 500 will be administered with the vaccine candidate and 500 others with a placebo.
“The 500 vaccine doses have been stored in cold storage today (Wednesday). Senior experts from the Centre will visit Ahmedabad to train Sola hospital doctors, who will be involved in the trial. Young and healthy volunteers shall be administered the vaccine doses for the trial and will be continuously monitored,” Patel added.
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