PUDUKKOTTAI: There is a fear associated with the word 'coronavirus' in everyone's mind. This fear or stigma prevents many people from reporting contact with a positive patient or travel history, say doctors. Many people do not come forward to get tested, afraid of being in institutional quarantine. To ensure better facilities for people who are being tested or placed in quarantine, a COVID health centre has been set up at Pudukkottai's old government hospital.
While such centres are being set up across the State, the Pudukkottai Health department and collector have come up with some innovations to make the stay of people comfortable in the facility. "Each patient would be staying in a cubicle, with a separate bed, charging point and water bottle. They would also be given two sets of clothes when they come, along with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Each patient would also have a separate examination kit. This is to ensure two patients do not have to share anything, not even water," said Dr R. Karthik Deivanayagam, district mental health officer (MHO), Pudukkottai.
The centre also has a 'stress-buster cabin' and yoga mats. "People who would be admitted here are not patients, they are just under observation. It is our job to keep them entertained and take care of their mental health. We want to treat them like guests, not patients. We have created a stress-buster cabin, which has mics on both sides and doctors can interact with patients from the other side of the glass cabin. Yoga would also be taught from the cabin. We have mats for each patient," said Dr Chandrasekaran, Joint Director, Health, Pudukkottai.
The patients would be given individual books to read and single-player games. They would be provided e-papers, too. Psychologists would also be speaking to them daily from the cabin. Yoga would be taught through wireless mics by the teacher. Patients would have access to TV and music. "We would play light music and religious songs in the morning and other music can be played in the evening. In other countries, the availability of beds became a huge problem when cases increased. The government is taking precautionary steps to ensure enough bed capacity here," added Chandrasekaran Beds are being set up in four blocks in the hospital. One block with 40 beds is ready now. The total capacity would be 200 beds, once ready. "The general capacity of a ward in this hospital is 100 beds. Currently, we are setting up 40 beds, to ensure distance," said Deivanayagam. One block would be dedicated to people who are asymptomatic, one for people with co-morbid conditions, one for those with SARI or influenza and one for people with cold, cough or fever.
Health officers say their idea is to make people feel good and not sad during their 14 to 28 days quarantine at the centre. "We have ensured the centre is airy and fitted all windows with mosquito nets. We are giving them a home living environment here," said Chandrasekaran.