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BMC orders takeover of beds in private hospitals, nursing home for Covid treatment

On a day when the total Covid count in Mumbai crossed the 4 lakh mark and active cases crossed 46,000, BMC ordered takeover of all private nursing homes and hospital beds for Covid-19 treatment. The move comes in the backdrop of rising cases and scarcity of beds noticed in private hospitals over the last few days.

Mumbai recorded 5,890 cases on Monday, taking the total Covid count to 4.06 lakh; and 12 deaths due to Covid-19, taking the total death toll to 11,665.

In a meeting with the CM on Sunday, BMC commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal said Mumbai is likely to touch 10,000 cases a day in a few days.

In order to free up beds, BMC has decided that asymptomatic patients with no comorbidities will no more be able to get a hospital bed. “It is instructed to urgently discharge any asymptomatic Covid positive patients,” BMC directed hospitals on Monday.

BMC data shows there are 481 ICUs and 254 ventilators vacant. Mumbai is recording between 6000-7000 cases daily, of them 10-15 per cent seek admission. Additional municipal commissioner Suresh Kakani said that based on daily cases, they will require 20,000 isolation beds in the city. Currently there are over 15,000 beds in Mumbai.

“We have directed jumbo centres to operationalise all their wards. Until now, half the jumbo centres were unused,” he said.

The civic body has converted 69 nursing homes into Covid centres to add 2000 beds and 400 ICUs to its tally. On Sunday, around 280 isolation beds were increased.

BMC reiterated that private hospitals can only admit Covid-19 patients through war-room referrals unless in case of an emergency. Hundred per cent of ICUs in private hospitals and 80 percent of isolation beds will be managed by BMC war rooms. Each war room has been asked to fill nursing homes first, then fill beds in ESIS hospitals, then proceed to major private hospitals. Once beds in these hospitals are filled, jumbo facilities and government hospitals will be taken up.

Civic auditors will again start sitting in major private hospitals to audit bills and help patients seek discounts in cases of overcharging.

BMC data shows vacancy of beds dipped from 49 per cent 10 days ago to 26 per cent by Monday. There are 4,057 beds available in dedicated Covid hospitals, Covid care centres and dedicated Covid health centres. In the last 10 days, Covid-19 patients in hospitals grew from 6,816 to 11,537. At that rate, Mumbai hospitals may face bed shortage in a week’s time.

The bulk of cases are coming from high rises and residential societies; civic officials said patients are not willing to get admitted in jumbo centres where beds are easily available. As on Monday, there were 2,395 beds vacant in public hospitals. “We are counselling patients but they are not willing to go to jumbo centres or BMC hospitals,” said a member of State Covid Task Force.

In Breach Candy hospital, CEO N Santhanam said all their beds are full and there are 10 patients on wait-list. “We have a team of three doctors who medically examine Covid patients and decide whether hospitalisation is needed. We are following Covid norms and not admitting mild patients,” he said.

Dr Shashank Joshi, member of the State Covid task force, said, “The challenge is to convince people in housing societies for institutional quarantine rather than hospitalisation.”

Staff shortage hits war room response

Mumbai: Ward-level war rooms are facing shortage of staff in handling phone calls from Covid-19 patients as cases continue to rise.

Patients are complaining of busy lines and of no response from ward level war rooms, which are the nodal points for coordinating beds in hospitals, arranging home visits of health officials, and for organising tests.

In T ward covering Mulund, assistant commissioner Kishor Gandhi said he has increased war room staff from nine to 12. “We have limited lines which keep ringing the whole day,” he said.

In L-ward, war-room lines have been out of service for several days. Medical officer Dr Jeetendra Jadhav said he has issued five SIM cards to operators to coordinate with patients. “We have also complained to MTNL,” he said.

Additional municipal commissioner Suresh Kakani said he took a review of staff available in war room and directed all assistant commissioners to increase manpower. “Patients will not face any problem in getting a response from war room helpline numbers,” he said. ENS

No nod for vaccination in housing societies

Mumbai: The Centre has refused permission for BMC’s plan of setting up vaccination centres in premises of housing societies. According to officials, the central health ministry has said it does not have any such policy for allowing vaccination camps in housing societies.

Considering low response towards vaccination drive for Covid-19, BMC had sent a proposal to the Union health ministry seeking approval for vaccine centres in society premises.

Over 10 lakh have been vaccinated in the city. The BMC is increasing vaccination centres, with one centre every 2 km. It has set a target of vaccinating 45 lakh citizens in the next 45 days. From April 1, the civic body will start vaccination of citizens who are above 45 years.

Meanwhile, amid night curfew, BMC officials said that five teams of flying squad will be formed in each ward to keep a check on malls, multiplexes and cinema halls. “Along with police, the BMC team will do random checks at night to ensure prohibitory orders are followed,” said an assistant municipal commissioner. ENS

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