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Health department asks for more ambulances, police re-purpose 20 vans for emergency use

The health department has asked the Gurugram district administration for seven additional Covid-19 dedicated ambulances due to the recent spike in cases and more people needing medical assistance, officials familiar with the matter said on Sunday
By Suparna Roy and Leena Dhankhar, Gurugram
UPDATED ON APR 25, 2021 11:21 PM IST

The health department has asked the Gurugram district administration for seven additional Covid-19 dedicated ambulances due to the recent spike in cases and more people needing medical assistance, officials familiar with the matter said on Sunday. In a related development, the police department has also re-purposed 20 vans into ambulances to deal with the increasing demand.

Dr MP Singh, district immunisation officer said in addition to nine existing ambulances, the health department has requested seven more. “With increasing cases, the demand is increasing. To tackle that, earlier this week, we wrote to the district administration requesting them to provide seven additional ambulances with advanced life support systems,” said Dr Singh.

Of the nine ambulances currently in use, two have advanced life support systems, while others have basic life support systems. The health department has also deployed one ambulance each in Sohna and Pataudi blocks. In total, there are 24 ambulances at present.

According to Dr Singh, in January and February, the 108 emergency helpline received six to eight calls each month, requesting ambulances for Covid-19 positive patients, which increased to over 100 in March. However, the health department is currently receiving 34-45 calls every day, due to the recent spike in Covid-19 cases.

When asked if there are delays in taking patients to hospitals due to the increased demand, Singh said, “It does take a little time to follow all the procedures and take patients to hospitals, because we are mostly getting calls for transfers to patients being referred to other hospitals. Further, to make sure that patients are not made to wait on calls while requesting an ambulance, we are upgrading our technology in the 108-control room, which will be functional from this week.”

At present, active cases in the district stand at over 25,000 with the health department expecting the number to rise. The positivity rate in the district is also around 25%. The district administration on Saturday held a review meeting and decided to increase beds, create more facilities and also enforce safeguards strictly.

Officials said that people can also reach the health department on 7015663108, to request an ambulance.

PCR vehicles turned into ambulances

The police on Sunday converted 20 police control room (PCR) vans into ambulances to help with emergencies.

KK Rao, the commissioner of police, said they are receiving multiple calls every day from distressed residents who are unable to get an ambulance. “It was seen that those in need were unable to get an ambulance due to shortage of them with the rising number of cases. Through this initiative, we are trying to help family members who need help in these difficult times,” he said.

The police said that these 20 vehicles are stationed in different areas for quick response. Officials said that residents can call or send messages through WhatsApp on a dedicated helpline, 9999999953, launched on Sunday for Covid-related issues. The police said that residents can also send complaints about black marketing of medicines and suggestions on police action.

Rao said all 41 station house officers (SHOs) have been directed to be on alert and to respond to all distress calls promptly. “These ambulances are for free, there are no charges and people should only use them in case of emergency. People should not occupy the beds in hospitals if not required,” he said.

These ambulances will be used to shift patients with conformed beds in hospitals. Green corridors are created across the city in case of emergency, the police said.

The police said that they have also enlisted a panel of doctors for providing free consultations to Covid-19 patients through calls and video conferencing.

In other initiatives, the police are using MCG water cannon vehicles to spray disinfectant across the city, especially in crowded areas such as Sadar market, railway station, bus stand, community markets and near malls.

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