CHENNAI: 300 oxygen beds for Covid-19 patients will be made available at the Chennai Trade Center after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin inaugurates the facility at the Covid Care Centre there on May 10. This comes at a time when the city is facing a lack of oxygen beds and when patients are waiting outside hospitals in long queues to get admission.
Top officials of the city corporation said that in all 800 beds with oxygen are being readied at the Trade Centre's Covid Care Centre. "The CM will inaugurate 300 beds on the first phase on May 10 and another 500 beds will be added on May 23," a top Corporation official confirmed to The New Indian Express.
Officials said that instructions to ensure the availability of these beds were given in the first week of May itself and work was on to prepare the beds.
"The Trade Center has 24/7 ambulance service too and with the oxygen beds coming up, the care centre will be capable of handling moderately ill patients as well," said the official, while pointing out that this may reduce the burden in the tertiary hospitals.
Residents across the city have been complaining of a lack of oxygen beds throughout the week. At any given time, at least 10 ambulances are seen to be waiting at the premises of the government tertiary hospitals like the Stanley GH, Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, and the Omandurar GH.
Umapathy Raghu, (55), who had come to admit his wife at the Stanley GH, said he was turned away by three private hospitals as they did not have oxygen beds. "But even at Stanley (hospital), we are waiting for hours to get a bed. We have come from Tiruvallur and it is a distressing experience," he said outside the hospital.
Former MD of Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation, Dr P Umanath, who is now one of the secretaries to the CM, had informed the Madras High Court on May 6 that the State only had oxygen for two days.
Health Secretary Dr J Radhakrishnan had also informed the court that the Centre did not release the revised Central oxygen allocation plan for Tamil Nadu and it diverted the State's oxygen to neighboring States. Because of this, the HC had also urged the Centre to take immediate steps to ensure an uninterrupted supply of oxygen to the State.
Meanwhile, Deans of the top tertiary hospitals in the city held discussions with the newly-appointed Health Minister Ma Subramanian. The Chief Minister also discussed with the District Collectors and urged him to strictly enforce Covid protocols.