In light of rising number of Covid-19 cases in some districts, the Punjab government has said that it is fully geared up to effectively deal with the further spread of coronavirus with 6,190 beds in both government and private hospitals at Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Patiala.
Taking stock of the medical arrangements in hospitals across the state, Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan revealed that the state government was well prepared with requisite bed capacity, ventilators in hospitals besides adequate arrangements of PPE kits, masks and testing kits. While claiming that the situation was under control, the Chief Secretary urged the people to strictly adhere to the health and safety protocols including social distancing, proper wearing of masks and washing hands frequently.
The Chief Secretary, who also heads the all-important State Covid-19 Management Group, mentioned that senior officers of civil administrations had been deputed as Nodal Officers in all the districts with senior IAS officers Sumit Jarangal and Tanu Kashyap deputed as state nodal officers to oversee the daily number of cases to make available the requisite medical infrastructure well in time. The group, set up on the directives of the Chief Minister Amarinder Singh who is monitoring situation daily, is an inter-sectoral group to ensure synergised efforts from all departments and stakeholders.
Under the group to achieve better coordination, sub-committees have been put into place to ensure quick and clear decision making, providing an immediate and dynamic response to every issue including the health strategy such as health sector response and procurement, upgradation of health sector infrastructure, Covid care centres, augmenting human resources and capacity building, tele-counselling services.
Notably, a State Public Health Advisory Group under the chairpersonship of Dr K K Talwar has also been constituted with the State Epidemiologist as the convener. She stated that the Deputy Commissioners had also been tasked to liaison with private hospitals in districts to increase the availability of dedicated beds for treatment of Covid patients, which had so far resulted in ensuring nearly 2,000 beds. She also revealed that the aggressive testing had already been initiated in the hotspot districts to further keep coronavirus spread under check.
For Level 2 and 3 patients as many as 5,000 beds are already available across state, Vini Mahajan reiterated, adding that a dedicated group of medical experts has been constituted in every district to ensure that patients are admitted/treated as per their medical requirements, including ‘Reverse Referral’ meaning thereby a patient no longer requiring a ventilator in Level 3, but still requires management and treatment can be shifted to a Level 2 facility.
On the directives of the Chief Minister, the state government has already augmented its Covid care capacity for mild asymptomatic cases under 60 years of age, with operationalisation of new Level 1 Covid Care Centres (CCCs) with total capacity of 7,520 beds in 10 districts. Similar centres with 100 beds each, would be opened soon in the remaining 12 districts, the Chief Secretary added.
Vini Mahajan said that the new CCCs have already been made functional with following bed capacities in 10 districts like Jalandhar (1,000), Amritsar (1,000), Patiala (470), Bathinda (950), Ludhiana (1200), Sangrur (800), Mohali (500-bed capacity at Gian Sagar Hospital and 1000-bed capacity at Chandigarh University), Pathankot (400), Fazilka (100) and Faridkot (100). These centres are running in Meritorious Schools or other institutions to the capacity of 7,000 beds which can be enhanced to 28,000 beds if the cases surge further. They are being managed by district administrations and Health Department and are being used to keep positive patients not having any symptoms, and without any co-morbidity.