A war room is a concept of managing an exigency under a central command.(HT PHOTO)
A war room is a concept of managing an exigency under a central command.(HT PHOTO)

PCMC’s tech-driven Covid-19 ‘war room’ gives updates at a glance

The goal of the war room is to integrate human interface with data and technology with intelligence to plan strategically
Hindustan Times, Pune | By Namita Shibad
UPDATED ON MAY 02, 2020 04:32 PM IST

When the national lockdown to deal with the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 23, Pimpri-Chinchwad municipal commissioner Shravan Hardikar realised that this would mean more than just a government order.

The police force alone would not be able to enforce it on its own but would require the support of other departments. Realising this, Hardikar said, “We quickly put a team together that first outlined the plan. We were already working on building a Smart City for Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), but realised that what an epidemic needed was a ‘war room’. “

A war room is a concept of managing an exigency under a central command.

The goal of the war room was to integrate human interface with data and technology with intelligence to plan strategically.

Work began on March 15 and it was ready by March 23. “We started with one computer, but now we are full-fledged and the daily reporting comes out systematically from our dashboard,” said Hardikar.

The war room has eight screens, a dashboard and a huge network to keep a watch on the spread of the Sars-Cov-2 virus. Every clinic, every diagnostic centre (including three government institutions and seven private facilities) are connected to this facility at the PCMC.

“Anytime a doctor examines a patient and suspects that he may be infected with Covid-19, the data is noted and sent to the central war room. After testing, the reports are notified. Patients who are advised to self- isolate are tracked via a GIS (Geographic Information System) encrypted within the system. Every time he ventures out, the information is visible on one of the eight screens and action is initiated,” said Hardikar.

“Apart from tracking patients, even a gathering of people in these curfew times is immediately noted for further action. Police and medical teams keep a constant vigil on the screens and the dashboard,” he said.

The dashboard shows all the information needed to keep a watch on the epidemic. “One look at the dashboard and it will tell us how many positives, how many are admitted to hospitals in PCMC and outside; how many patients are not from PCMC, but admitted in our hospitals and how many recoveries, discharged, deaths,” he said.”

It also tells how many are quarantined so that our team can make field visits. “Our team visits a containment zone every alternate day,” said the PCMC civic chief.

The dashboard also throws up real-time info on hotspots that are linked to the GIS which help in taking decisions related to sealing of various zones. With surveillance cameras, our police teams can take action on violations, added Hardikar.

In addition to this PCMC has a call centre linked to their app, Saarthi, as well as a ChatBot on WhatsApp where residents can register a complaint. The ChatBot has a location tracker and that helps in geo-fencing their residence if need be.

What is a war room and how does it work?

A war room is a concept of managing an exigency under a central command.

The war room has eight screens, a dashboard and a huge network to keep a watch on the spread of the Sars-Cov-2 virus. Every clinic, every diagnostic centre (including three government institutions and seven private facilities) are connected to this facility at the PCMC.

The dashboard shows all the information needed to keep a watch on the epidemic.

The dashboard also throws up real-time info on hotspots that are linked to the GIS which help in taking decisions related to sealing of various zones.

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