Plans on to shift COVID OP out of Madurai's Rajaji hospital

With a sharp spike in fresh Covid cases in the district, the question of converting the SSB back into Covid block to increase the bed strength of GRH has now arisen. 

Published: 08th January 2022 10:31 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th January 2022 11:37 AM   |  A+A-

Covid beds kept ready at Nandambakkam Trade Centre in Chennai. (Photo | Ashwin Prasath, EPS)

Image used for representational purpose. (Photo | Ashwin Prasath, EPS)

Express News Service

MADURAI: Aiming at decongesting Government Rajaji Hospital (GRH), the authorities are planning to shift the Covid-19 OP clinic out of the hospital and admitting moderately ill patients to the peripheral taluk hospitals. Sources said the health department also chalked out plans to decentralise Covid management in the city.

During the first two waves of Covid, the three-storey Superspeciality Block (SSB) that could accommodate nearly 450 beds was converted as the Covid block of GRH, the district's sole government tertiary care Covid Designated Hospital.

Consequently, the departments of surgical/medical gastroenterology, nephrology, urology, neurology and neurosurgery that was functioning at the Superspeciality Block (SSB) until April 2020 were shifted to the administrative block of GRH. Meanwhile, the new and state-of-the-art equipment and operation theatres at the SSB that was inaugurated in January 2019, remained idle, thus affecting non-Covid medical services.
After a gap of 19 months, the Covid wards were moved out of SSB two months ago following a steady drop in admission of Covid patients. Currently, the Covid wards are located in the two-storey old Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (CEmONC) block of GRH. At present, 350 Covid beds have been arranged at the old CEmONC block.

Speaking to TNIE, GRH Dean Dr A Rathinavel said non-Covid patient care provided by the six departments that were originally housed at the SSB were affected badly as the equipment and amenities could not be fully utilised after they were shifted to temporary space. "Since the pandemic is more likely to stay and as the SSB cannot function as the permanent Covid block, the Covid wards were moved out of the hospital as a measure to improve non-Covid medical services," he said.

With a sharp spike in fresh Covid cases in the district, the question of converting the SSB back into Covid block to increase the bed strength of GRH has now arisen. Responding to it, the dean said, "The conversion will be kept as the last option. Alternatively, steps are being taken to decongest the hospital's Covid wards. Starting Monday, only severely ill patients will be admitted to GRH. The Covid outpatient clinic is being moved to Elango Corporation School nearby. Further, the district administration has mooted admission of moderately ill patients at the peripheral taluk hospitals."

As the wave peaks, 300 more beds arranged at the basement of SSB would be utilised, only after which a decision on reconversion will be taken, Dr Rathinavel said.

It is being planned to decentralise the triage centres in the city, said an official with the health department of Madurai Corporation. "In order to screen the vitals including the Oxygen saturation levels of Covid patients to segregate the severity of illness, two triage centres have been established at The American College and Mannar Thirumalai Naickar College that will also serve as Covid Care Centres. Two more triage centres at colleges are in the pipeline," he shared.

A senior official with the district health department said, "With Omicron said to cause mild illness, asymptomatic patients will be sent into home isolation while moderately ill patients will be treated at the six peripheral government hospitals in Usilampatti, Vadipatti, Melur, Thirumangalam, Peraiyur and Thiruparankundram. Five of these hospitals are equipped with Oxygen generator plants."

In the seven days since January 1, the district has reported 11, 13, 19, 31, 52, 60 and 149 fresh cases respectively till Friday. As on Friday, 59 out of 979 beds in government hospitals were occupied while 120 were in home isolation. No admission was made in any of the Covid Care Centres, and 37 out of the total 2,688 beds in private hospitals are occupied by Covid patients.


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