Nearly a month after it was supposed to have started functioning as a tertiary care centre for COVID-19, the Aluva District Hospital will begin admitting patients from March 1 onwards.
While the facility will eventually be scaled up to treat 100 critically ill patients, it will be opened with a small number of beds, said Dr. Mathews Numpeli, district programme manager, National Health Mission. The capacity to treat patients will be built up over a month, he added.
The COVID-19 treatment centre is equipped with facilities for dialysis, emergency surgeries, gynaecology and paediatric wings. Surgeries for COVID-19 positive patients and pregnant women have been done so far only at the Government Medical College Hospital. The new facility is expected to ease the burden on the medical college hospital.
Upgrading the facilities at the hospital cost around ₹1.50 crore. Around ₹14 lakh was allocated under disaster response funds in the district, while the rest was funded by the National Health Mission and the district panchayat. While a large chunk of the work is complete, some finishing elements are yet to be done, Dr. Numpeli said. Early in January, the District Collector had informed house surgeons and students of the medical college that it would be possible to get the Aluva District Hospital running as a COVID care facility by January 31.
The students had sought resumption of all regular classes and inpatient facilities at the medical college for their training.
Setting up power supply, an additional generator and a few other aspects for the block that was converted into the COVID care facility had caused the delay, Dr. Numpeli said. Facilities for non-COVID patients will continue at the hospital in all departments except the gynaecology wing which is being renovated.
Additional staff is being appointed at the hospital, where 200 staff members are required.
While a few appointments are being made via the National Health Mission, additional staff members will also have to be transferred to the district hospital from the PVS COVID care centre. As the facilities at the Aluva hospital expand, the number of patients at PVS Hospital will also be reduced, Dr. Numpeli said.
473 new cases
The district recorded 473 new COVID-19 cases and 600 recoveries on Wednesday, when 8,383 samples were sent for testing.
Four health workers have newly tested positive. Thrikkakara recorded the maximum number of new cases with 30 people testing positive.
Thripunithura and Nedumbassery recorded 14 new cases each.
A total of 9,183 people are recovering from the infection.
As many as 7,790 people are recovering at home.