Kerala

State all set to tackle Omicron

As the uncertainty surrounding the new SARS-CoV2 variant, Omicron, grows and experts debate whether the variant’s immune evasion potential can lead to a massive surge in re-infections, the State is leaving nothing to chance by making preparations ahead.

Ensuring oxygen availability and ICU/ventilator facilities has been a main task that the Health department has been undertaking, in preparing to meet any exigency involving Omicron.

The State is producing 354.43 metric tonnes of oxygen daily now, while the current utilisation of oxygen is around 65 metric tonnes only. Kerala is self-sufficient in oxygen production and it also has adequate buffer stock, Health Minister Veena George said here on Wednesday.

Review meeting

The oxygen and ICU/ventilator situation was reviewed by the Health department in anticipation of a possible third wave of COVID-19. During the second wave, when Delta was sweeping across all States and leading to a situation of huge oxygen shortage in hospitals, Kerala had managed to avert a crisis.

If earlier there were only four oxygen generators in the State, 38 more such generators, which can additionally manufacture 89.93 metric tonnes of oxygen daily, were established in anticipation of a third wave. Work on setting up another 18 oxygen generators, which can manufacture 29.63 metric tonnes of oxygen, was also on.

Ms. George said that this apart, there are 14 air separation units in different parts of the State, which can manufacture 65 metric tonnes of oxygen daily. Also, the State has the capability to produce 207.5 metric tonnes of liquid oxygen daily.

Work in progress

The storage capacity of liquid oxygen has also been enhanced. In both public and private sector facilities, 1,802.72 metric tonnes of liquid oxygen has been stored, and the work on enhancing it by another 174.72 metric tonnes is progressing.

ICU beds and ventilators are being readied. The public sector hospitals in the State have 3,107 ICU beds and 2,293 ventilators. Of this, the current occupancy is only in 267 ICU beds and 77 ventilators. Non-COVID patients are occupying 983 ICU beds and 219 ventilators.

A total of 40.2% ICU beds and 12.9% of ventilator beds in the State are occupied now. This apart, private hospitals have 7,468 ICU beds and 2,432 ventilators at their disposal.

If at all there is a shortfall in ICU beds/ventilators, the government will seek the help of private sector, she added.


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Printable version | Jan 17, 2022 12:02:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/state-all-set-to-tackle-omicron/article37902753.ece

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