Tamil Nadu

T.N. govt. begins identifying places to set up COVID-19 care centres

Representational image.

Representational image.  

As cases mount, facilities needed for moderately ill patients

With over 70% of COVID-19 patients requiring accommodation in health and care centres — in addition to the more severe cases needing hospitalisation — officials have begun identifying public spaces to create the necessary facilities. A panel with Secretaries of Public Works and Highways departments is zeroing in on buildings and spaces that can be converted into COVID-19 health or care centres.

COVID-19 patients are treated in four categories of facilities — severe cases need hospitalisation, moderate cases are admitted to health centres, mild cases are housed at care centres and asymptomatic cases remain in home quarantine. “Our figures so far have shown us that about 10% of the total active patients need hospitalisation, some 20% need health centres, another 50% need care centres and the remaining can be put under home quarantine,” a senior official said.

While the government is augmenting beds in hospitals, facilities for 70% of the patients have to be arranged too, as they form a majority of positive cases, he contended.

Hospitals and other public buildings in the custody of the State government can house up to a lakh patients needing health or care centres. Authorities are now looking for potential sites that can be converted into such facilities. “As of now, we can accommodate about one lakh COVID-19 patients, who are moderately or mildly symptomatic, in school and college buildings and the like. But, it is better to arrange for more such facilities in case more cases are reported,” the senior official said.

A major challenge facing the Tamil Nadu government in terms of beds reserved for COVID-19 patients in government and private hospitals is the duration of hospitalisation. “On an average, a patient with severe symptoms requires a bed for about 10 days. This means that a bed will be occupied for 10 days when over 1,500 fresh cases are being reported daily,” he said. The status of health infrastructure in the State is being monitored daily and the number of beds needed and beds available calculated every single day, he said.

Epidemiologists have informed the government that ‘herd immunity’ in the State is possible only if 55% to 60% of the population contracts a mild infection. “It means there will be many more cases and the idea is to keep the spread slow so that it can happen over many months to ensure that our health infrastructure is sufficient,” the official added.

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Printable version | Jul 10, 2020 11:52:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tn-govt-begins-identifying-places-to-set-up-covid-19-care-centres/article31829206.ece

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