Each zone will have at least 15 vehicles; residents will soon receive helpline numbers to use service
The Greater Chennai Corporation has launched 250 COVID-19 special ambulances for the 15 zones of the city.
Municipal Administration Minister K.N. Nehru launched the project at Ripon Buildings in the presence of Corporation Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi and other senior officials.
The COVID-19 special ambulance are part of key initiatives taken by Mr. Bedi and his team of IAS officials after he took charge on Sunday.
Modified private taxis
The special ambulances were launched by modifying taxis of private operators with drivers insulated from the passenger cabin. Drivers would be vaccinated to reduce the risk of them getting COVID-19, the Corporation Commissioner said.
The ambulances will be stationed at each of the 15 zones of the Greater Chennai Corporation. Zonal officials will send them to residents’ homes after they test positive for COVID-19.
Residents will soon receive information regarding the helpline numbers for availing the services of the COVID-19 special ambulances. Each zone will have at least 15 ambulances to transport patients to screening centres, hospitals or COVID-19 Care Centres.
Volunteers, sanitary inspectors and sanitary officers in each residential area will facilitate transportation of patients in the ambulances, based on the request from the control room in Ripon Buildings.
The COVID-19 special ambulances will reduce the pressure on the 108 ambulance service. Currently, most patients are taken to hospitals in the 108 ambulances, leading to a delay in patients reaching hospitals.
After the COVID-19 special ambulances are launched in each of the zones, the risk of COVID-19 spread by patients will also reduce.
Many of the patients have been visiting hospitals and triaging centres in crowded vehicles in the past few weeks.
They have also been unable to reach hospitals and triaging centres on time.
Of the 139 existing 108 ambulances, as many as 99 are being used exclusively to transport COVID-19 patients. All ambulances are fitted with double oxygen cylinders under the vehicle.
The ambulances are equipped to treat patients for as much as seven to eight hours.
In a day, each 108 ambulance transports nine to 10 COVID-19 patients on average, officials said.
The daily number of COVID-19 cases in the city has crossed the 6,000-mark in the past few weeks.
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