Govt hospitals told to increase beds by 20%, private by 25%
With West Bengal recording 46 Covid-related deaths in the past 24 hours, the state government on Tuesday ordered government hospitals to add 20 per cent more beds as compared to its strength when the state had hit the Covid peak last year. The government also directed private hospitals and nursing homes in Kolkata, which has highest caseload, to increase the number of beds by 25 per cent.
The decision was taken during a Covid review meeting with all the Chief Medical Officers of Health (CMOHs) in the districts.
“It has been decided to enhance the Covid bed strength in all private/corporate hospitals/nursing homes in Kolkata metropolitan area by at least 25 per cent over and above the number of Covid beds that they had made available during the Covid peak period last year. As many as 3,400 beds have been secured out of 3,500 beds targeted and more are being made available,” the government order stated. Sanjay Bansal, secretary, Health and Family Welfare, who is heading a Task Force on Covid beds, will monitor till the target is achieved, the order added.
From April 17, when the fifth phase poll was conducted in Bengal, till April 20 (Tuesday) 156 people have died in West Bengal of Covid. “This is dangerous. This (Assembly) election will be remembered for all the deaths it has brought about in Bengal,” a senior doctor, who did not wish to be named, told The Indian Express.
In the past two days, the daily fresh Covid caseload in the state has crossed 8,000. In the last 24 hours, the state recorded the highest single day spike with 9,819 new cases taking the total Covid count to 6,68,353. Kolkata recorded 2,234 new cases followed by North 24 Paraganas 1,902 new cases.
According to sources, the government has planned to make 8,000 beds available by the weekend. It has directed all CMOHs to ensure that no “non-serious” Covid patients are referred to Kolkata for treatment unless “absolutely necessary,” the sources added. It instructed CMOHs to “redeploy doctors and staff in districts as required” and have asked them to pool resources across neighbouring districts if needed.
Sagar Dutta Hospital has been again designated as a Covid Hospital and Shambhunath Pandit Hospital (annexe of SSKM Hospital) has already started functioning as a Covid facility.
The government has also made adequate funeral arrangements. All stakeholders such as Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) and rural bodies have been asked to take care of the bodies of Covid victims. The government sought a report in this regard, which said all the 125 ULBs have indicated that 180 burial grounds, 119 crematoriums/burning ghats and 83 hearse vans are “in readiness”.
“Each ULB will be provided one more hearse van, observing all norms. Necessary instructions on restricted numbers of family members to attend funerals have been issued. Nodal officers have been identified in KMC/ULBs to attend to family of the deceased to ensure seamless funeral arrangements,” said an official.
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