BBMP to augment fleet of ambulances by Saturday

Friday was a tough day for the small fleet of ambulances shifting patients to hospitals or COVID-19 Care Centres. The city reported 994 positive cases, but there were only 134 ambulances to take them to suitable facilities. Each ambulance had to make nearly eight trips in a matter of a few hours, obviously leading to delays.

“With COVID-19 being demonised, many patients suffer from panic attacks,” said a senior civic health official. With the city reporting cases in the range of 500-900 cases each day over the last one week, to record an all-time high single-day spike of 994 on Friday, the civic body is overwhelmed.

A week ago, the civic body was managing with a fleet of just 50 ambulances, which was then augmented to 100 after a meeting chaired by Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa. As of Friday, the fleet was 134 strong.

However, there are too few ambulances in comparison to the rise in the number of cases every day.

“We have decided to augment the fleet to 200 by Saturday morning,” civic Commissioner B.H. Anil Kumar told The Hindu, adding that it would still be insufficient.

“We aim to augment the fleet to 400 in the coming week, to ensure at least two ambulances for every ward,” he said.

However, ambulances are hard to come by.

“We haven't roped in ambulances from private hospitals, as it would affect non-COVID-19 emergencies. We are roping in private ambulance service providers apart from government ambulances, including 108,” he added.

Officials hope that with the new rules allowing asymptomatic patients to remain in home quarantine, the burden on ambulances will reduce.

“Asymptomatic patients, who have a separate room with an attached bathroom, will be quarantined at home. Only asymptomatic patients, who are vulnerable by age or do not have such facilities at home, will be admitted to COVID-19 Care Centres or hospitals. This will reduce the demand for ambulances significantly,” said Revenue Minister R. Ashok, who is overseeing COVID-19 management in the city.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 3:24:39 AM |

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