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COVID-19 | Bed shortage crisis in Pune to be resolved soon: collector

Rapid test: Doctors look at the results of an antigen test, in Mumbai on Monday. Pune district officials have credited antigen testing for early detection of cases.   | Photo Credit: Aadesh Choudhari

Amid increasing complaints of lack of beds to cater to critical COVID-19 patients in Pune city and the district, District Collector Naval Kishore Ram on Monday assured that the problem of bed shortage would be resolved by the end of the week.

He also said while the district administration had no plans to extend the lockdown beyond July 23, authorities were mulling over steps to discourage large gatherings of people, especially over weekends.

Over 2,000 new cases

With the district reporting a staggering surge of over 2,000 cases today, and a spike of more than 2,500 cases on Sunday, the administration is scrambling to procure ventilators and ICU beds as Pune’s medical infrastructure is on the verge of collapse.

A number of local MLAs and corporators have drawn attention to patients succumbing due to lack of ICU beds and ventilators in hospitals, while decrying the district’s shambolic medical infrastructure. “Presently, we have 32 ventilator beds and 29 ICU beds (sans ventilators) in hospitals across the district. There have been issues with real-time data entry which has created confusion about the actual number of beds available. We will be resolving this glitch immediately,” Mr. Ram said.

To cope with the surging cases in Pune city, the Collector informed that by Monday night, Sassoon General Hospital would have 40 more ICU beds, while 309 beds would be made available at Inlaks Budhrani hospital, 17 at Jupiter Hospital and six more at Dalvi Hospital.

“By next week, we are planning to convert some hospitals into dedicated COVID-19 facilities. Regarding the problem of shortage, one must bear in mind that 25% patients in the city’s bigger hospitals are from other districts. So, the challenge is to cater to needs of patients from Pune city as well as those from outside,” he said, stressing that the bed shortage issue would be under control by July end.

Mr. Ram said authorities were working round-the-clock to expand COVID-19 care facilities in rural areas, which were seeing a drastic rise in cases in order to reduce the burden on hospitals in urban pockets.

“Patients from rural areas are still disposed to seek treatment in urban hospitals. So, we are greatly increasing facilities there by adding 1,000 beds to the covid care center in Manchar, and 16 ICU beds in Bhimashankar. We are also upgrading treatment facilities in Baramati, Khed and Maval,” he said, informing that by next week, the administration would have 1,000 oxygen beds to cater to patients from rural areas, along with the requisite manpower.

At present, the district’s total case tally stands at 53,450 of which 19,127 cases were active with 13,235 of them from Pune city. Prior to the imposition of the lockdown on July 14, the district’s active case tally was a little over 13,000.

Testing doubled

“While the number of active cases has certainly increased in the lockdown period, so have our testing capabilities, which have doubled. We have tested over 30,000 samples in the past few days while the district’s recovery rate stands at a robust 64%,” said Mr. Ram, expressing confidence that Pune would soon see a reduction in cases.

He observed that the district’s mortality rate, as compared to other districts, had actually declined to 2.6%. As per district administration figures, the death toll stands at 1,348. Mr. Ram said a high proportion of antigen testing — an average 3,000 tests per day — had helped in early detection of cases.

“In this lockdown period, the Pune Municipal Corporation has also increased the number of high-risk contacts to 15 during the contact-tracing process. Furthermore, we are also requisitioning facilities in colleges like Fergusson College and College of Engineering Pune (CoEP) and convert them into covid care centers,” he said.

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Printable version | Oct 1, 2020 11:05:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/covid-19-bed-shortage-crisis-in-pune-to-be-resolved-soon-collector/article32143780.ece

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