NEW DELHI :
The government on Tuesday identified dedicated facilities for the treatment of covid-19, with India’s hospital network coming under strain as the number of cases reached 5,085. Maharashtra registered the highest number of infections, crossing 1,000 with as many as 150 fresh cases.
State health minister Rajesh Tope tweeted that the current count of patients in Maharashtra is 1,018, with Mumbai topping the list with 116 fresh cases, followed by Pune with 18.
Overall, India recorded 537 new cases, with the death toll in the country reaching 136. As many as 14 people succumbed to the infection on Tuesday.
“As cases rise, it is important to put in place mechanisms for triaging and decision making for identification of covid-19 dedicated facilities for providing care to patients,” said Lav Agarwal, joint secretary, Union ministry of health and family welfare.
“It would be important to appropriately prepare the health systems and use the existing resources judicially. Available data in India suggests that nearly 70% of people afflicted with covid-19 either exhibit mild or very mild symptoms. Such cases may not require admission to covid-19 blocks or dedicated covid-19 hospitals,” he said.
Three types of facilities will be set up for various categories of covid-19 cases, the ministry said.
The government has decided to establish Covid-19 Care Centres (CCCs), where mild or very mild cases or suspected cases will be admitted. “These may be makeshift facilities and may be set up in hostels, hotels, schools, stadiums and lodges, both public and private. If need be, existing quarantine facilities could also be converted into CCCs,” said Agarwal.
The second category will be Dedicated Covid Health Centres (DCHCs). These shall offer care for all cases that have been clinically assigned as moderate. “These should either be a hospital or a separate block in a hospital with preferably separate entry/exit/zoning. These hospitals would have beds with assured oxygen support,” he said.
The third category will be Dedicated Covid Hospital (DCH), which shall offer comprehensive care primarily for those clinically assigned as severe.
“This should either be a full hospital or a separate block in a hospital with preferably separate entry/exit. They should be fully equipped intensive care units, ventilators and beds with assured oxygen support,” said Agarwal.
The official cited a study by the Indian Council of Medical Research to show that one covid-19 patient could potentially infect 406 people in 30 days if he/she does not practice social distancing.
“If we follow the proper measures and social distancing, the infection rate can be cut down to just 2.5 people per patient in 30 days,” he said. The study has suggested an R0, the unit to measure the rate at which a person can infect others, for covid-19 at 2.5.
Asked about the extension of the lockdown, he said the government decision would be conveyed very soon.
The government aims to strengthen dedicated hospitals for the treatment of covid-19 cases and this strategy has been shared with the states, he said.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his message to the nation on World Health Day on Tuesday said that we should not only pray for each other’s good health but also reaffirm our gratitude towards all doctors, nurses, medical staff and healthcare workers who are bravely leading the battle against covid-19.
“Let us also ensure we follow practices such as social distancing, which will protect our own lives as well as the lives of others. May this day also inspire us towards focusing on personal fitness through the year, which would help improve our overall health,” Modi said.
Vice president M. Venkaiah Naidu said that concerns about people’s health shall take precedence over the stabilization of the economy. “People should continue to cooperate with the government’s decision even if hardship continues,” he said.
Leroy Leo contributed to this story.