Covid-19: States start earmarking special hospitals and expanding ICUsUpdated: Mar 25, 2020 00:34 IST
New Delhi: Several states have begun making special arrangements for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) patients, earmarking special hospitals, designating schools to be turned into isolation wards and expanding regular and Intensive Care Unit (beds) in existing facilities in order to brace for a possible surge in numbers.
The move came two days after cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba suggested in a meeting with officials from all Indian states to have a hospital earmarked for the disease and to step up surveillance and contact mapping.
Eight states – Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Assam, Punjab, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka – either named government or private facilities to be turned into dedicated isolation beds. Some other states, such as Rajasthan, announced sweeping plans to turn village panchayat buildings and schools into temporary hospitals.
“Many states have informed us that they have begun work on keeping a dedicated hospital ready to manage only Covid-19 cases. These facilities will be equipped with all necessary items such as personal protection equipment, including N-95 masks, gloves and glasses, ventilators etc,” said Lav Aggarwal, joint secretary, Union ministry of health.
As many as 22 private super speciality hospitals have agreed to provide 1,000 beds, including 300 beds in separate rooms. All of them will be equipped with ventilators and monitors.
Apart from these states, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi, has also readied its 800-bed National Cancer Institute in Jhajjar to be used as an isolation facility in case Covid-19 positive cases were to go up.
“We have to stay prepared,” said Aggarwal.