Reserving 50 per cent of the beds: Kerala's strategy if COVID-19 cases spike rapidly

When 50% beds fill, next healthcare facility will be made operational; it will make sure 50% of beds are reserved for critical patients

Published: 23rd May 2020 06:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd May 2020 02:27 PM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

KOZHIKODE: For addressing the rising number of COVID-19 patients in terms of beds and admissions, the state’s strategy is to put the second healthcare facility in operational mode when half of the beds gets filled in the first.

The purpose is to reserve 50% of the beds to most critical patients who would come in any course of time. The plan regarding the beds and admissions is spread across COVID hospitals, COVID First-Line Treatment Centres (CFLTCs) and home isolation.

In each district, 450 beds will be available at COVID hospitals spread across medical college hospital (200), district hospital (150) and taluk hospital (100). If half of the capacity of the first hospital fills, the next admission will go to the next hospital.

When the bed occupancy in the first three COVID hospitals is 50 per cent, CFLTCs will be activated. In the case of districts which has no MCH, the plan is slightly different.

“Through reserving 50% of the beds, the main hospitals with facilities such as ventilator, oxygen cylinder and specialist care could be reserved for very sick patients,” said Dr B Abhilash, National Health Mission (NHM) district programme manager (DPM), Wayanad.

If the number of cases rises exponentially, those with severe symptoms will be admitted to COVID hospitals, those with moderate symptoms to CFLTCs and asymptomatic positive healthy individuals or those with mild symptoms to home isolation. 

First CFLTC in Kozhikode

However, each district has a slightly different action plan depending on the availability of resources such as tertiary care hospitals (MCH) and other local issues.  In the case of Kozhikode, the first CFLTC started operation at the Lakshwadeep guest house on May 18 though the first COVID hospital (Kozhikode Government Medical College Hospital (KMCH)), which has a bed capacity of 1,000, has only 13 cases.

“We changed the plan and commenced CFLTC early as a lot of critical non-COVID cases are coming to the MCH. Besides the CLTC, the government General Hospital (Beach Hospital) with 400-bed capacity is also ready. Once half of the CLTC fills, Beach Hospital will take patients. If 50% of the Beach Hospital fills, the next non-critical patient will be admitted to periphery hospitals such as taluk hospitals,” said NHM Kozhikode DPM Dr Naveen A. 

In Wayanad, there is no medical college and after filling the half of the bed capacity at its COVID hospital (DH at Mananthavady), the next admission would be at Sultan Bathery Taluk Hospital and then at Vythiri Taluk Hospital.

“As Wayanad has no government tertiary care centre, the private DM WIMS Medical College and Hospital is designated for complicated cases. For non-complicated Covidcases, after filling the half of the bed capacity in two taluk hospitals, the CFLTC would be activated. The next phase is peripheral hospitals. At the same time, critical cases would be sent to DM WIMS,” said Wayanad District Medical Officer Dr R Renuka.

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