The Mamata Banerjee government is preparing to add at least 1,000 more beds for Covid-19 patients in the coming days in various hospitals in Kolkata, its adjoining districts North 24 Parganas, Howrah and South 24 Parganas, and Hooghly.
According to the government data, almost 82% of the infections and 90% of the fatalities this month have been reported from five of these South Bengal districts. Kolkata, North 24 Parganas, and Howrah have always recorded most of the cases and deaths, making them the epicentre of the pandemic in the state.
“We are desperately trying to increase the number of beds because we should be ready for any emergency. We now know that many patients who are asymptomatic or mild symptomatic are staying in their own homes in quarantine. But we are not taking any risk. We are making efforts to increase beds as much as possible in south Bengal,” said a senior Department of Health official.
The government has acquired a number of ESI hospitals, which are run by the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation, in some of these districts to deploy them in its efforts to stem the pandemic.
According to the health department, in Howrah each of the two ESI hospitals in Baltikuri and Uluberia will have 100 beds for Covid-19 patients, while the ESI Hospital in Hooghly district’s Bandel town will also allot 100 beds for the purpose.
The ESI Hospital in Joka in South 24 Parganas district already has 100 beds for Covid-19 patients, and will allot 68 more.
In Kolkata, a private hospital group has added 90 beds for Covid-19 patients in two of their branches, while the Medical College and Hospital has announced it will add at least 120 beds next week. The Lady Dufferin Government Hospital, which is close to Medical College and Hospital, will also be used to treat Covid-19 patients. The hospital has 300 Covid-19 beds, according to the health authorities. MR Bangur Hospital, which has been a dedicated Covid-19 treatment facility from the beginning of the pandemic, will have an additional 25 to 30 beds in its cardiac care unit for Covid-19 patients.
At Sagar Dutta Medical College in North 24 Parganas district, at least 50 beds are being added every week, according to health officials. Though the bed occupancy rate is only 26.85%, and the discharge rate is well above 60%, a senior health department official said, “Many experts are saying the number of patients may explode in the second half of July. So, we are not taking any risks and are preparing ourselves for any situation.”
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