Government hospitals in Chennai continue ramping up COVID-19 infrastructure

The newly constructed mobile ICU at the Government Kilpauk Medical College Hospital in Chennai.  

Since the start of the pandemic, government hospitals in the city have been steadily improving their infrastructure to manage COVID-19 patients. Post-lockdown, with the city and its people returning to normalcy, work to increase the bed strength, oxygen capacity and ensure continuum of care for patients by setting up post-COVID clinics is going on in many of these hospitals.

The city has so far recorded a total of 1,93,299 cases — 1,78,623 persons discharged, 11,107 active cases and 3,569 deaths. As fresh infections seem to be on the decline, hospitals continue to ramp up COVID-19 related infrastructure facilities, such as beds with oxygen support, liquid oxygen tanks and post-COVID clinics, in tune with the changing needs of the pandemic.

The Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH) has so far admitted nearly 25,713 patients. From 10 beds, the hospital, in a phased manner, has increased its bed strength to 1,662.

“This will be increased to 2,000 in the coming weeks. We are adding 120 beds on each floor of tower-3. We will be covering three more floors to convert the tower into an exclusive COVID-19 block. This way, we will wind up smaller wards for COVID-19 patients in other blocks such as tower-2 and speciality block. The number of oxygen points were also increased to 1,000,” E. Theranirajan, RGGGH dean, said.

The inflow of patients had been fluctuating with the daily average being less than 150.

Presently, there were 710 patients, including the ones with COVID-19 and those with suspected symptoms, he added.

Of the total 2,261 beds at the Government Stanley Medical College (SMC) Hospital, 1,200 beds are for COVID-19 patients. Out of this, 1,000 are oxygen supported beds, including 280 ventilator beds, according to dean P. Balaji. Three blocks were remodelled for COVID-19 patients. Of this, a two-storey block with 400 beds was exclusively earmarked. It offered outpatient services, in-patient wards and a zero-delay ward. A separate dialysis ward with 10 beds was put in place. Like other hospitals, the SMC has started a follow-up clinic with pulmonologists, cardiologists and psychiatrists managing it.

One of the first exclusive COVID-19 hospitals was the Government Medical College Hospital, Omandurar Estate. Started in March with 500 beds, the capacity was augmented with 250 more beds — all with oxygen support.

Testing capacity

“We have increased the testing capacity of our RT-PCR laboratory with an automated RNA extractor. From 100 to 200 samples a day, we are now testing 800 to 1,000 samples a day. We have added 104 ventilators and 150 multipara monitors,” said R. Jayanthi, the hospital’s dean. The number of in-patients had reduced to below 500 for the first time in months, she added.

The Government Kilpauk Medical College Hospital that started off with four beds has a total of 550 beds now. “We are planning to add 110 more beds of which 100 will be for the ICU and 10 in the modular mobile ICU. This will take the total beds to 660 in the future,” dean P. Vasanthamani said.

In August, a record of 1,900 patients were admitted to the hospital, 10 affiliated COVID-19 Care Centres and two screening centres. “Nearly two weeks ago, the number of patients admitted decreased to around 700 to 800. In the last two days, it has come down to 500,” she added.

The National Institute of Ageing (Government Corona Hospital) in Guindy, is maintaining 750 beds. K. Narayanasamy, its director, said they had a 15-bed zero delay ward with oxygen ports and ventilators available for all beds. “We are going to increase the oxygen tank capacity from 6 KL to 10 KL,” he said.

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2020 3:46:04 PM |

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