Fever clinics with queue management in govt hospitals of Bengal
Fever clinics will be set up at government hospitals, where patients turning up with Covid-19 symptoms will be identified even before they get to meet a doctor and made to stand in a separate queue.
“Those having fever and at least one of the other three symptoms of Covid-19 — cough, sore throat and breathlessness — will be made to join one queue. Doctors will decide who need to visit a Covid hospital,” a health department official said.
The fever clinics will be set up at each of the medical colleges in Calcutta and the districts. All district hospitals, sub-divisional hospitals and block primary health centres, too, will run such clinics.
Every fever clinic will have a dedicated team of doctors, nurses and pharmacists.
“We have drawn up a protocol of treatment to be followed at the clinics,” the official said.
According to the protocol, the patients turning up with fever and at least one of the other three symptoms of coronavirus infection will be marked as Category A. Those with only fever will be under Category B.
“Category A patients will be further split into four groups,” the health department official said.
Group 1 patients will be those who have a recent history of travel to coronavirus-affected countries, have come in contact with a Covid-19 patient over the past 14 days or is a health-care provider. “These patients will be labelled as ‘high suspect’, in need of urgent action,” the official said.
Patients with no travel history or exposure to any Covid-19 case or who is not a health-care provider will form Group 2. They will be deemed as “low suspect” cases.
Group 3 patients will be those aged 60 or above and with comorbidities such as hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney or liver ailment. Patients turning up with severe acute respiratory illness will be categorised as Group 4.
“Group 1, 3 and 4 patients will be admitted to any pre-test facility and their swab samples will be immediately sent for tests. If the report is positive, they will be admitted to any Covid-19 hospital,” said the official of the health department.
“Patients in Group 2 will be advised home-quarantine for 14 days and asked to turn up again within two days if their condition worsens.”
As for Category B patients (those who have only fever and no other symptom of Covid-19), doctors will explore other common causes of fever and take a decision.
The Bengal government has set up four Covid-19 hospitals in Calcutta, which together have 1,425 beds. The four are MR Bangur Hospital, Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute (New Town), Infectious Diseases and Beleghata General Hospital and AMRI Hospitals Salt Lake.
Officials said the decision to set up fever clinics was taken on Monday after chief minister Mamata Banerjee urged people with symptoms of coronavirus patients to only visit hospitals designated for Covid-19 patients.
The immediate trigger for setting up fever clinics, the officials said, was a recent development at NRS hospital, where more than 75 health-care providers had to be quarantined after they came in contact with a patient who tested positive for Covid-19.