Covid-19: Oxygen requirement in Goa likely to double in future

Even as the state’s requirement for oxygen is set to double, according to Health Minister Vishwajit Rane, the state government is leaving no stone unturned to supplement its inventory of oxygen supplies, even reaching out to government and private players in states like Kerala and Karnataka.

The state has witnessed an unprecedented surge in Covid-19 cases — mirroring a similar spike pan-India — resulting in the need for ramping up generation of supply of oxygen, a critical requirement during treatment of Covid-19 patients, who suffer from acute symptoms that includes shortness of breath.

Rane said that an elaborate plan was being put in play to ensure that oxygen was available to all patients in the care of government hospitals, even as the Opposition has demanded a thorough audit of essential medicines and oxygen, which Leader of Opposition Digambar Kamat said should be made public.

“Future forecast is double. Exactly double of what we are using today. That much oxygen we would require. We need to make more arrangements,” Rane said.

Currently, the state’s apex medical facility, the Goa Medical College, consumes 45 trolleys of oxygen cylinders per day and the other designated Covid-19 facility, the South Goa district hospital consumes 18 trolleys per day. Each trolley comprises of 150 cylinders.

“The situation is expected to worsen,” Rane said.

The Health Ministry has already reached out to local manufacturers of oxygen in Goa and has made contact with the Kerala government and industries in Karnataka to tap in more supply.

Rane said that, thanks to Kerala’s Health Minister KK Shailaja, Goa had been able to procure 20,000 litres of liquid oxygen, while the government was also looking to tap industrial units in Kerala to source more of the precious resource.”Government is trying its best to increase its oxygen capacity,” Rane said, adding that the volume of oxygen requirement was “going up everyday”.

Goa has witnessed a sudden, but steep bump in the number of Covid-19 cases, which have leapt from an average of 500 new cases per day last week to nearly 900 plus over the last three days. Increase in the number of cases, has also led to increase in hospitalisation of Covid-19 patients, which has led to an increased demand in oxygen supply.

With reports of a shortage in oxygen supplies in several parts of the country, Goa Opposition leader Digambar Kamat had demanded that the Health Ministry “release daily stock reports of availability of medical oxygen, medicines like remdesivir and Covid vaccines” for sake of transparency.

Rane however scoffed at the request made by Kamat.

“Are they doctors? The doctors are with me. Make positive suggestions. Do not politicise these critical health issues,” Rane said.