10k beds, 18k tonnes of ACs: What to expect in Delhi’s biggest Covid facility

On Wednesday, this was a patients’ section up on display at the campus of Radha Soami Satsang Beas in south Delhi’s Chhatarpur, which is set to be the biggest Covid-19 temporary hospital in India with over 10,000 beds.
The mud floor is bare, and from the high roof hangs slow-moving fans, which would offer little comfort from the humidity but for the cool breeze flowing in from outside after a light drizzle.(Sanjeev Verma/HT photo for representation)
The mud floor is bare, and from the high roof hangs slow-moving fans, which would offer little comfort from the humidity but for the cool breeze flowing in from outside after a light drizzle.(Sanjeev Verma/HT photo for representation)
Updated on Jun 25, 2020 07:38 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByShiv Sunny

Five rows each of 16 iron cots -- topped with mattresses covered with un-creased white bedsheets, neatly folded white blankets and thin pillows with blue covers -- are laid out at a distance of five feet from each other. On one side of each bed stands a grey plastic chair and on the other side rests a plastic stool with a sealed water bottle and a small soap atop it.

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The mud floor is bare, and from the high roof hangs slow-moving fans, which would offer little comfort from the humidity but for the cool breeze flowing in from outside after a light drizzle.

On Wednesday, this was a patients’ section up on display at the campus of Radha Soami Satsang Beas in south Delhi’s Chhatarpur, which is set to be the biggest Covid-19 temporary hospital in India with over 10,000 beds.

“The mud floor will be covered by carpets and then topped with vinyl sheets for easy cleaning. The hospital will be cooled by 18,000 tons of air-conditioners,” said BM Mishra, district magistrate (south), even as workers began spreading vinyl sheets at one corner of the facility.

The Delhi government had taken over the campus, roughly the size of 22 football fields in its effort to ramp bed strength and add medical infrastructure to combat the rapidly rising cases of the coronavirus disease in the city. The Delhi government is seeking to further increase the number of beds available for patients by setting up makeshift hospitals in 40 hotels and 77 banquet halls. The idea is to add 15,800 beds for sick patients. Five hundred converted railway coaches will add another 8,000 beds for the city’s Covid-19 patients.

On Tuesday, home minister Amit Shah had tweeted that a large part of the facility would be operational by Friday and manned by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).

THREE SEPARATE SECTIONS

Sonalika Jiwani, IAS officer and sub-divisional (SDM) of Mehrauli, said the facility is divided into three sections: the largest for the patients, another for nurses and doctors, and the third will serve as the command section.

“For patients, there will be 116 sections of 88 beds each. In the first phase, we’ll have 2,000 beds ready by Thursday. The entire facility will be ready by the first week of July,” she said.

By Wednesday, dozens of large air-conditioners were already installed even as more were on their way. With the air-conditioners yet to be functional, the site was serviced by the fans hanging from long poles. While there is one fan on an average for every three beds, they will practically be useless for most patients going by how far the beds are placed from one another.

THE FACILITIES

Every patient will have a bed, a stool, a chair, a small plastic cupboard, a dustbin and utensils, and will be given a toiletry kit. The beds will either be the foldable iron cots, or ones manufactured using cardboard.

“Individual phone and laptop charging facility will be available for each bed. Patients can also bring their laptops, but for any video or audio application, they will have to use headphones,” said DM Mishra.

Food will be served to the patients by volunteers who will roll them on trolleys along the rows of beds. “The Satsang is capable of cooking food for three lakh people a day. So, that will not be a problem,” said the DM.

TOILETS

There are 600-odd toilets at the centre with 70 portable toilets -- including three special ones for physically challenged people -- stationed outside. “We will bring more portable toilets. The aim is to have one toilet for every 10 patients at least,” said the DM.

Sanjeev Tiwari, the operations head of YLDA India Pvt Ltd, the firm hired by DUSIB to set up portable toilets, said that each toilet can be used about 200 times before the waste needs to be taken away. “Suction vehicles will be ready to take away the waste and make the toilets usable immediately. The toilets will be cleaned twice a day and once at night,” said Tiwari.

The DM said that the sanitation work will be carried out by an agency to be hired by South Delhi Municipal Corporation. “All the workers will wear PPE suits. We are working out a plan to ensure there is minimal interaction between the workers and the patients,” said the officer.

For uninterrupted water supply, the government has installed hydrants for the underground reservoir facility that has a capacity of 1.7 lakh litres. “The water supply capacity has been augmented. The Delhi Jal Board will check samples five times a day to ensure that the quality of water is good,” said Raghav Chadha, the DJB’s vice-chairman who visited the place on Wednesday.

RELATIVES WON’T BE ALLOWED

Relatives of patients won’t be allowed inside the gates. “We would prefer if they can send the patients here in ambulances, but even if they bring them themselves, they’ll have to handover the patients to us at the gates and leave,” said DM Mishra.

To handle the admission and discharge of patients, the authorities will use an e-hospital app that is being developed by the National Informatics Centre, said the DM. A team will work on 400 computers at the centre, he said.

The officer said that MTNL has been asked to provide landline and internet connection at the facility. “We have also requested a telephone tower firm to install requisite towers nearby so that the patients do not have problems in browsing the internet,” he said.

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Monday, November 29, 2021