Covid-19 update: Odisha police demand isolation wards, protective gear for staff enforcing lockdown
Odisha police demanded that isolation wards for police personnel and their families can be built at the Police Commissionerate in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and district levels.Updated: Mar 25, 2020 21:26 IST
With police personnel manning all roads to ensure complete lockdown in the state, Odisha police has asked the state government to sanction funds to build isolation wards, ICUs and necessary personal protective gear like masks and Hazmat suits for police staff and their families.
In a letter to the state home secretary, a senior official of Odisha police said while a multipronged approach is being adopted by various departments of the government to contain the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in Odisha; it is equally incumbent upon the police force to scale up its level of preparedness to deal with the epidemic.
Though the officers of the police department are being sensitized to maintain high standards of personal hygiene and sanitation, in order to prevent the spread of infection, isolation wards for police personnel and their families can be built at the Police Commissionerate in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and district level, the letter said.
“The maximum pressure on existing healthcare facilities due to any possible epidemic would be in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar where the bulk of specialized medical care facilities are available. Hence it is required to set up isolation wards at Reserve Police Lines Hospitals at Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, SAP 7th battalion Police Hospital and Special Security Battalion Hospital,” the letter said.
“Besides Bhubaneswar & Cuttack urban police districts, there exist 17 police hospitals having adequate presence of doctors and paramedic staff in 13 districts that could be utilized for creating at least 10 bedded isolation wards in each of the facilities for the police personnel or their families,” the letter read.
These isolation wards would need to be equipped adequately to cater to Covid-19 patients by providing them hazmat suits, N95 masks, clean linen, hand towels, medicines, gloves, thermometers, oxygen cylinders, screen partition, medicines etc.
In another letter to the state home secretary, Bhubaneswar-Cuttack police commissioner Sudhansu Sarangi demanded 50 platoons of additional police force to enforce a complete shutdown. Sarangi said as police personnel are key emergency workers and need to be well looked after, kept physically fit and psychologically motivated, steps need to be undertaken at the preparatory stage keeping in mind a worst case scenario.
“When personnel are deployed to enforce a shut down while allowing essential movement, they will be required to be on the street exposed to a number of people. The protective equipment that they will need are Hazmat suits, N-95 masks and hand sanitisers,” Sarangi stressed while emphasising that the four police hospitals in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack and their capacity needed to be augmented to meet the immediate crisis as well as by way of capacity up-gradation.
The police demanded about Rs 4 crore from the state disaster response department for ramping up infrastructure in its hospitals.
The Odisha Havildar and Sepoy confederation also demanded that those lower-level policemen enforcing lockdown should be tested for coronavirus and be kept in quarantine.
Meanwhile, the Odisha Medical Service Association, a body of state government doctors said that that there is an acute shortage of protective kits for doctors and health care service providers at the district level.
In a letter to the Odisha government’s health department, OMSA said that there are insufficient number of masks, sanitizers and PPE kits. “Supply of six important items is necessary while treating suspected coronavirus affected patients. The items are NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) approved particulate respirator, powder free, latex free superior puncture and tear resistant HD gloves, ANSI-approved light weight reusable indirect vented (splash proof) clear vision goggles, biohazard bags with international biohazard signs, disposable boot covers, resistant to particulate and liquids, elastic top 17 inches high and gowns,” OMSA said.
The medical association added that stage III of the pandemic will occur when a person or animal carrying the virus can produce sporadic cases or small clusters of disease among the population.