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Capital braces for new surge in Covid cases

Six second-line treatment centres to be set up in district soon. Further surge in cases anticipated while shortage of medical personnel looms large

Published: 28th August 2020 07:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th August 2020 07:00 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Capital is bracing to deal with another surge in Covid-19 cases as Kerala is expected to hit the pandemic peak in the next couple of weeks. According to health authorities, the capital district may witness a steep rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in the coming weeks and more infrastructure would be required to deal with the increasing caseload.  As of Wednesday, of the total 788 beds available at the Medical College Hospital, 366 beds were occupied.

At the General Hospital, 255 of the 300 beds were occupied. Thiruvananthapuram has the maximum number of active cases in the state with over 5,700 people currently undergoing treatment. District Medical Officer (DMO) K S Shinu told TNIE that the authorities are planning to add 1,000 more beds for the treatment of ‘Category B’ patients. The district health authorities have signed an MoU with Gokulam Medical College Hospital and Karakkonam Medical College Hospital for starting second-line treatment centres (CSLTCs). Preparations are nearing completion to convert Iranimuttam Homoeo Medical College into a CSLTC. Ayurveda Panchakarma Hospital is also being considered for the same. 

“We are in the process of upgrading some of the first-line treatment centres (CFLTCs) into CSLTCs and increase the bed strength. Those who want to get treated at private hospitals can do so and patients willing to avail KASP (Karunya Aryogya Suraksha Padhathi) -- the healthcare scheme of the state government -- can also consult private hospitals. Asymptomatic positive patients with adequate facilities at home would be sent for home care,” said Shinu. 

The CSLTCs will have semi-ICU beds and would be well equipped to administer oxygen treatment, he added. According to authorities, the prediction on case surge may go for a toss if the public does not follow protocols. The city is witnessing a huge rush on roads in the run-up to the Onam festival. “Despite enforcing restrictions and conducting campaigns, people are venturing out in large numbers for shopping. Revenue, police and health officials are working day and night to keep the situation under control but without the cooperation of the public, it is impossible,” said Shinu.  

Personnel shortage
Although the state government has formed the Covid Brigade, the district is unlikely to get the service. According to officials, a majority of the doctors registered with the brigade are unwilling to serve in Thiruvananthapuram. “Only four or five doctors have responded to the call and even they are not sure of joining duty,” said a senior official. 

Lack of a centralised helpline to categorise and guide patients to appropriate healthcare facilities is another major crisis crippling the system. “Talks are on to set up a helpline for patient management. We would ideally need medical practitioners for taking calls,” the official added. An official of the district administration said if the human resource crisis escalates, staff may be pulled from CFLTCs to run CSLTCs.

CSLTCs in the state capital 
Total number of beds 1,000
General Hospital 300 
Sree Gokulam Medical 
College Hospital 150 
Karakkonam Medical 
College Hospital 150 
Iranimuttom Homeo Medical 
College Hospital 100
SUT Hospital, Vattapara 150 
(being taken over) 
SRM Medical College Varkala 150

Alarming numbers
As of Wednesday, of the total 788 beds available at the Medical College Hospital, 366 beds were occupied. 
At the General Hospital, 255 of the 300 beds were occupied. Over 
5,700 people are currently undergoing treatment at various facilities in the district.



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