Step-down hospitals to tackle bed shortage for COVID-19 patients: Minister

Government may utilise around 4,000 hotel rooms

Step-down hospitals, with nearly 4,000 beds, will be established in hotels that are close to private hospitals soon. Along with the 12 maternity hospitals that have been converted into oxygen stabilisation centres, these two initiatives will help overcome the bed shortage problem, said Arvind Limbavali, Minister for Forests and Environment.

A day after the expose of the bed allotment scam, Mr. Limbavali, who has been made in-charge of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) war room, and Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai and Revenue Minister R. Ashok, in-charge of bed availability for COVID-19 patients in government-run and private medical establishments, chaired a meeting, on Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters later, Mr. Limbavali said step-down hospitals can be availed by COVID-19 patients who are on the mend and no longer require ICU care. “They may continue to require medical attention and may be admitted in step-down hospitals established in hotels near the hospitals. This way, the ICU and ICU-V beds will be available for other needy patients,” he said.

Mr. Bommai said over 20,000 rooms are available in various hotels in the city. “We are looking at utilising around 4,000 rooms. The hotels’ association have been cooperating with us, like they did last year,” he said.

Oxygen stock

Meanwhile, civic chief Gaurav Gupta instructed zonal commissioners and joint commissioners to appoint a nodal officer for each ward to monitor overall opening stock, quantity indented, quantity received and closing stock of oxygen at the end of each day. The information from eight zones should be consolidated on a daily basis.

At a virtual meeting on oxygen supply, war room management, vaccination and testing, he noted that small hospitals and nursing homes in the city that are using oxygen cylinders have been enrolling more patients than they can manage. The nodal officers at the ward level must visit every hospital and nursing home to check their capacity to admit the maximum number of patients, apart from inspecting if a cylinder or tank is used for oxygen supply.

He told zonal commissioners and joint commissioners to appoint an officer to oversee the staff working on a contract basis in BBMP war rooms.

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