Capital will be ready for 37k cases a day during next Covid surge: CM
During the previous waves, Delhi government hospitals provided care to around 20% of all Covid-19 patients, state government data showed.
Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said Delhi is preparing for a peak of around 37,000 Covid-19 cases a day during any next potential wave of the infection and detailed the Aam Aadmi Party government’s action plan, which includes creating robust medical oxygen infrastructure, storing buffer stocks of essential medicines and setting up two genome sequencing laboratories to better understand the role of variants in the spread of the infection. The government is planning to set up a total of 36,900 Covid-19 beds in hospitals and Covid health centres (CHCs), in addition to those in Covid care centres (CCCs), documents seen by HT showed.
“Experts are saying that a third wave is bound to emerge, but nobody knows when such a wave will arrive and how dangerous it will be. We have to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. The Delhi government is planning for this wave in full swing. On Friday, I chaired two meetings for almost six hours with experts and officers who have been working throughout this pandemic. We have constituted two committees and carried out detailed discussions with them,” he said in a digital press briefing on Saturday.
During the previous waves, Delhi government hospitals provided care to around 20% of all Covid-19 patients, state government data showed. Overall hospital bed capacity within the next two to three months will be ramped up to at least 36,900, the documents said.
To ensure hospitals and health care facilities are adequately staffed, the Delhi government is extending the contracts of all its nurses and doctors by another six months till December 31. “To improve the availability of doctors in all hospitals, the Delhi government will introduce a one-year internship for graduating postgraduate students in city hospitals, so that they can start working as senior residents immediately and also gain useful functional experience,” said a senior health official.
As the April-May surge of the infection ravaged the city, the state government progressively increased the number of Covid beds in its hospitals from 5,221 in April to 7,978 in June. Similarly, the state ramped up ICU bed capacity in these facilities from 1,830 in April to 3,100 this month.
Further, with an eye on tracking variants of the Sars-Cov-2 virus, which causes Covid-19, the Delhi government also said it will set up two genome sequencing labs — in the state-run Lok Nayak hospital, and the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) — within three months.
In his press briefing on Saturday, Kejriwal also said the teams concerned are assessing the number of oxygen beds, ICU beds, medicines, and oxygen masks children may require.
Kejriwal also said there was a “huge shortage” of oxygen during the April-May surge, which consequently meant the city could not set up enough oxygen beds.
“We don’t want to face such a situation again, should another wave arrive. Therefore, preparations have been made – a storage capacity of 420MT of oxygen is being readied. We’ve had talks with Indraprastha Gas Limited and they have been asked to prepare a 150MT oxygen production plant, for which they have said that it will take 18 months,” he said. Kejriwal added that a paediatric task force has also been constituted.
“In case a third wave does happen, children will be the most vulnerable because others would have either had the infection or received a vaccine...We would need fresh treatment protocols and SOPs,” said Dr Lalit Kant former head of the department of epidemiology at the Indian Council of Medical Research.