Mumbai gears for 2nd Covid wave as it crosses 4L-tally (Ld)

A day after Mumbai added 5,890 new Covid-19 patients to take the tally past the 4-lakh mark, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) braced up for a possible second war against the virus, a top official said here on Tuesday.

For starters, the BMC has made 2,269 beds, including 360 in ICU, available with immediate effect in private hospitals to cater to the growing rush of Covid patients since early-March.

“These will be in addition to more than 3,000 beds currently lying vacant in government and private hospitals. We are also operationalizing an additional 1,500 beds in the Jumbo field hospitals by this weekend to take the total bed availability to over 7,000,” BMC Municipal Commissioner I.S. Chahal told IANS.

Moving swiftly, the civic body has also ordered takeover of 80 per cent beds and 100 per cent ICU beds in all private hospitals and barred them against admitting any Covid positive patients without the green signal from the Covid Ward War Room, he added.

Reverting to the policy enforced in May 2020, no patients shall be allowed direct admission to hospitals till their Covid positive report is received from the labs, and thereafter, the BMC teams will pick up the patient/s from their homes to the designated hospital.

Reviewing the situation, Health Minister Rajesh Tope said that “there is immense strain on the health infrastructure” in view of the galloping Covid cases, with the Maharashtra tally now clocking a stupendous 27.50 million cases and 54,283 deaths (till date), with the highest cases (4,04,614) and deaths (11,665) being in Mumbai, the country’s worst-hit.

With daily infections soaring in the 30K-plus range since a week, the Minister reiterated that all people must strictly adhere to Covid-appropriate protocols to avoid another Lockdown.

The BMC chief has also ordered that Assistant Municipal Commissioners may take police help to secure the beds in private hospitals/nursing homes/clinics if needed and also deploy civic teachers and other staffer to ensure bed availability 24X7.

Laying down norms, Chahal said that first beds in all hospitals at the Ward level shall be utilized, followed by ESIS hospitals, beds and ICU beds in private hospitals, Jumbo hospitals, government hospitals in Mumbai followed by BMC’s own hospitals.

He made it clear that besides banning all direct admissions, no asymptomatic Covid positive patient without co-morbidities shall be allotted beds anywhere, and such patients currently in hospitals must be discharged on priority to free up beds for the more needy or serious patients.

The BMC has further decreed that 80 per cent of all Covid beds and 100 per cent ICU beds shall be at the disposal of the civic Ward War Room for smooth allotment.

Private hospitals have been cautioned to charge only the government notified rates from patients and all bills shall be audited by BMC auditors, Chahal said.

All hospitals have been asked to ensure uninterrupted supply of requirements like oxygen, ventilators, medicines, PPE and VTM kits, etc and place advance orders as the case maybe.