Sun. Jun 13th, 2021

Maharashtra govt issues rules for hospitals to prepare for a 2nd Covid waveMUMBAI: The Maharashtra public health department has issued a detailed set of guidelines, including a formula to deduce number of Covid beds to be kept operational, in anticipation of a second wave of infections. Based on positivity rate and the existing Covid graph, the state said districts should keep 20-60% of their Covid beds operational.

The circular issued on Wednesday says districts with a positivity rate of less than 7% should keep a minimum 5-7 dedicated Covid hospitals running, which would translate into 20% of total Covid beds. Districts with a positivity rate of more than 7% and upto 10% should keep at least 40% Covid beds available by reserving government medical colleges and one hospital each in a taluka. For districts with a positivity rate of 11-15%, upto 60% Covid beds are to be operational. And in those with a positivity rate of 16-20%, authorities have been asked to activate all multispecialty hospitals, besides keeping upto 60% beds functional in Covid centres.

Describing these as broad guidelines, Dr Pradeep Awate, state surveillance officer, said districts could make their own arrangements depending on daily trends. “Given that numbers are declining every day, many private hospitals have begun to approach collectors to convert Covid hospital into non-Covid hospitals. Hence, we have given this formula so districts can continue minimum bed allocations in case we see a spurt,” he said. The state anticipates a surge either post-Diwali or sometime in January.

The state has also asked districts to ensure that 50% of medicine stocks required when cases were at their highest are kept available along with buffer stock for an additional 15 days at the least. Districts have also been asked to ensure that oxygen requirement and supply should be monitored closely.

Oxygen requirement of private hospitals too should be taken into account if they are treating Covid patients, say the guidelines. And contact numbers for ambulances are to be available to the public. A senior FDA official said oxygen requirement has dropped drastically since September-end. “Also, most medical colleges have installed liquid oxygen tanks in their premises,” he said.

The state has also asked local administrations to ensure that all those who have reported co-morbidities during door-to-door surveys be monitored. The state had found over 23lakh people out of 11.92crore surveyed living with diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, cancer, among other ailments.

Public health minister Rajesh Tope said the state is prepared for a second wave. He, however, urged compliance with Covid protocols to ensure the spike in cases is minimal. “We have seen 25,000 cases in a day during the spike in the state. We are prepared to handle 10-20% more cases if required,” said Tope.

He added that with unlocking, people are stepping out for work but they are following masking and social distancing norms. He said there is little chance that the state will see a second wave, but due to the dip in temperatures, it is necessary to be alert.

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