Cyclonic conditions on Wednesday prevented several people, even suspected coronavirus patients, to delay hospital visits. Already down on its knees from the raging Covid-19 pandemic — Mumbai on Wednesday reported 1276 new cases taking its total count to 43,492 — the city was witnessed heavy rainfall and gusty winds as Cyclone Nisarga made landfall at Alibag in Raigad district.
Khalid Ansari, a social worker at Nagpada, said several people, even those ill, avoided venturing out to see a doctor due to the rain. “Those who could wait for a day before seeking medical help decided to stay at home,” he said.
In Govandi, health worker Shoab Hashmi said they had asked locals to avoid travelling unless there was a medical emergency. “In the morning, a patient had to be admitted to Masina hospital. We called 108, and the ambulance came on time,” he said.
According to Maharashtra Emergency Medical Services (MEMS), which runs an ambulance service, 228 calls were received from across Mumbai on Wednesday from both Covid-19 and other patients.
“Usually we get around 330 calls every day. There is a slight reduction in calls. We had prepared drivers to keep additional fuel, park it safely, and adopt all safety measures due to the cyclone in Mumbai, Raigad and Ratnagiri,” said Dr Dyaneshwar Shelke, chief operating officer of BVG-MEMS service.
Hospitals, too, saw a lower patient turnout on the day. Dr Hemant Deshmukh, dean of KEM hospital, said patient count has been lower for the last four days. “On Wednesday, we saw drop by 15 per cent in out-patient department. We had only 80-90 patients today,” Deshmukh said. The hospital has 480 patients, of them 272 are Covid-19 positive.
The civic body, meanwhile, said it will screen 19,000 slum dwellers settled near the city’s shoreline for Covid-19, after they were moved to temporary shelters as a precautionary measure against Cyclone Nisarga.
On Wednesday, the BMC also issued a post-cyclone health advisory urging people to ensure they sought doctor’s advice for fever and not self-medicate. “Watch for any symptoms for the next seven to 10 days. If any symptoms appear, like fever with chills, joint pain, rashes, cough, breathlessness, diarrhoea, vomiting, sore throat, or jaundice, then immediately visit a nearby dispensary or inform a community health volunteer,” the advisory stated.
The civic body has also asked senior citizens to remain at home and advised people to consume home-cooked food for a few days to avoid contamination.
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