When Kasaragod got its first suspected case of COVID-19 on January 31, the District Hospital at Kanhangad was ready.
“When the outbreak happened in Wuhan, our staff underwent a refresher course in infection control and rapid response. Even the ambulance driver was taught how to don and doff the PPE (personal protection equipment),” said resident medical officer Rijith Krishnan, the young doctor credited with keeping the District Hospital prepared.
The cleaning staff were instructed to sanitise the hospital thrice a day.
“They are the unsung heroes in this fight,” he said.
Meticulous planning ensured the district never pressed the panic button, even when the number of cases soared to 155, the highest in the state.
“We took over two defunct hospitals with 105 beds for suspected patients. Our nurses were deployed there,” he said.
Kasaragod does not have a medical college, so the District Hospital -- the only district hospital in Kerala to have NQAS certificate -- had to keep running its speciality services even while taking care of the COVID patients.
“We turned the secluded pay ward to COVID isolation ward, and entrusted the cleaning staff to keep sanitising the area,” he said.
The hospital even ramped up its chemotherapy service during the lockdown to cater to patients who could not go to Mangaluru.