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Ramp up tests, fix pipelines supplying oxygen to Covid ward: Committee to health department

The team comprising of senior doctors suggested that some of the equipment that have been lying defunct in Covid hospitals be repaired, in case of a third wave

Kinsuk Basu Calcutta Published 25.06.21, 02:32 AM
Representational image.

Representational image. Shutterstock

A team of doctors has asked the health department to make arrangements for setting up pipelines to carry oxygen to wards and increase Covid testing at a time when the number of cases has dipped and several hospitals are less burdened with patients.

The team, comprising senior doctors from different medical colleges and hospitals, has asked the health department to ensure that some of the equipment that have been lying defunct in Covid hospitals be repaired, in case of a third wave.


On June 22, the Bengal government had constituted a 10-member committee comprising experts from the fields of medicine, pulmonology, epidemiology and child care to draw up suggestions on how the health department could gear up to meet challenges in case of a fresh surge of cases.

The committee met for the first time on Thursday.

“The number of Covid tests has started dropping. There is a growing belief among a section that the pandemic is over and there is no need for tests. This can be disastrous,” said GK Dhali, the officer on special duty for Covid-19 and a member of the committee. “We have asked the health department to ensure that tests are conducted with equal intensity and across both urban and rural centres.”

Senior officials of the health department said the number of tests had fallen from around 66,000 a day to about 55,000, on an average.

Bengal recorded a little over 1,900 cases on Thursday, with Calcutta registering 155 cases followed by North 24-Parganas with 217 cases. On May 24, the state had registered over 12,000 cases with Calcutta alone accounting for over 3,000 cases and North 24-Parganas around 4,000 cases.

Several experts, while underlying the need for tests, also suggested that if wards have to be readied, it was mandatory to fix pipelines for supplying oxygen. Many Covid hospitals on the fringes of North 24-Parganas, Howrah and South 24-Parganas — apart from several others in the districts — are yet to have this facility.

“Since this is a lean period, it would be really helpful if some of the equipment lying defunct are repaired and made ready for use. Biomedical engineering plays a crucial part in treating Covid patients,” said Yogiraj Ray, a committee member.

Senior health department officials said the suggestions would be compiled and distributed to the concerned departments of hospitals.

“Funds would not be a constraint if the proposals are properly drawn up,” said a senior official at Swasthya Bhavan.

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