Efforts on to raise number of oxygen beds in Ernakulam

While oxygen demand and supply in the district are being closely monitored, efforts are on to increase the number of beds with oxygen supply and strengthen a decentralised system at the local body level to handle emergencies.

The current daily demand for oxygen in the district is 15 to 20 metric tonnes, according to District Collector S. Suhas. There are five oxygen tankers in the district. Medical oxygen is being supplied to the Government Medical College Hospital (MCH), PVS Hospital, and the CIAL COVID care centre, while smaller hospitals require around 30 to 40 oxygen cylinders.

There is a possibility of shortage in supply of oxygen, and the situation is being monitored, the Collector said at a meeting with the Kochi Mayor, district panchayat president, chairpersons of corporation standing committees, and panchayat presidents.

The district has a buffer stock of oxygen to handle any issues with supply, according to a communication from the district administration. Oxygen cylinders that are not in use in industries are being taken for medical oxygen supply. These cylinders are being taken to taluk offices first, from where they are transported to filling stations and then distributed to hospitals.

Local bodies are setting up control rooms and arranging ambulances. The local control rooms will handle calls from patients in isolation at home, and calls will be escalated to the taluk or district level only when they cannot be managed at the local level. Panchayats have been given permission to set up beds with oxygen supply. The Kochi Corporation has set up a 100-bed facility with oxygen supply on Willingdon Island.

Of the total caseload, 95% of people are recovering at home. Around 5% of the active caseload requires hospitalisation. Of them, 1% to 2% of cases require ICU or ventilator support, said a release from the administration.

All beds at the MCH are equipped with oxygen supply. The MCH has 300 beds. The Aluva District Hospital has 100 oxygen beds and 30 ICU beds. The CIAL COVID care centre has 150 beds with oxygen supply. Taluk hospitals at Palluruthy, Thripunithura, and Fort Kochi have centralised oxygen supply systems. Facilities for oxygen supply have also been arranged at the Muvattupuzha General Hospital and Kothamangalam, Piravom and Perumbavoor taluk hospitals.

While 150 oxygen beds are being readied at the super-specialty block of the Ernakulam General Hospital, another 500 beds are being set up in collaboration with BPCL. Apart from beds for non-COVID emergencies, all other oxygen beds in the district have been set aside for COVID patients. The district administration is also considering setting up oxygen beds at community health centres and first-line treatment centres (FLTCs).

Shortage of doctors

While beds are available, the district is low on doctors and nurses at both government and private hospitals, the release said. A staff pool is being prepared for critical care. Beds with oxygen supply are being strictly set aside for those in need of them, while all others will be directed to FLTCs and domiciliary care centres. Efforts are being made to prevent patients from deteriorating to a stage where they require ICU care or ventilator support.

To strengthen coordination among local bodies, an ‘incident response system’ is being organised. It will comprise officials from the Revenue Department, Health Department, Local Self Governments and the police.

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Printable version | Jun 24, 2021 5:02:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/efforts-on-to-raise-number-of-oxygen-beds-in-ernakulam/article34499638.ece

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