DRDO hospital to get 250 more ICU beds, 100 additional medical staff by weekend
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has begun work on expanding the capacity of its Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Covid Hospital in Delhi Cantonment to deal with the surge in Covid-19 cases in the national capital, DRDO officials said on Monday.
This comes a day after the government announced that Delhi will get hundreds more of intensive care unit (ICU) beds for Covid-19 patients, testing for the infection doubled, and doctors from central paramilitary forces flown in.
On Monday, Delhi reported 3,797 new Covid-19 cases, taking the tally to 489,202. The number of Covid-19 cases started soaring about three weeks ago, with the highest number of cases so far—8,593—being recorded on November 11. Delhi reported 3,235 new Covid-19 cases on Diwali, as per the state health bulletin.
The 1,000-bed DRDO medical facility will get 250 additional ICU beds by Friday to provide treatment to patients who are seriously ill, said one of the officials cited above, asking not to be named. This will take the total number of ICU beds at the hospital to 500, although the total capacity of the centre, spread over 25,000 square metres will stay the same.
The hospital, built by the DRDO in a record time of 12 days with the assistance from the armed forces, ministry of home affairs, ministry of health and family welfare and Tata Trust, became operational in July and has so far treated and discharged 2,500 people. More than 400 patients are currently being treated at the hospital whose ICU is almost full, said a second official.
The doubling of the ICU beds will increase the requirement of doctors and paramedics at the hospital.
“The medical centre currently has around 150 doctors and paramedics. We will need an additional medical staff of around 100 people. That will be provided by the Armed Forces Medical Services and the Central Reserve Police Force,” said a third official, adding that the hospital also plans to get dialysis machines.
The ICU ward in the hospital has been named after Col B Santosh Babu and two other medical wards have been named after Naib Subedar Mandeep Singh and Naib Subedar Satnam Singh in memory of those killed in the June 15 Galwan Valley clash with the People’s Liberation Army in eastern Ladakh.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, at a high-level meeting on Sunday, had described the lack of ICU beds as the “biggest challenge” in the fight against Covid-19. The meeting was chaired by Union home minister Amit Shah and attendees included Kejriwal, the health ministers of the Centre as well as the state, Delhi lieutenant-governor Anil Baijal and top officials from Niti Aayog, Indian Council of Medical Research and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
In a presentation, Niti Aayog’s VK Paul described Delhi’s situation as “unprecedented” and “likely to become worse,” as reported by HT on Monday. In the meeting with the union home minister Amit Shah, it was decided that the number of tests will be increased to about 100,000 a day, with assistance from the centre. Currently, the city tests about 60,000 samples a day.