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South Bengal districts augment Covid care

In the past 24 hours, 17,639 new Covid cases were recorded in the state with 107 deaths
North 24-Parganas district magistrate Sumit Gupta (facing the camera) speaks to health officials at Panihati state  general hospital on Tuesday.

Subhasish Chaudhuri   |   Calcutta   |   Published 05.05.21, 02:12 AM

With a fresh spike in Covid cases and deaths in south Bengal, local administrations have on an emergency basis taken up initiatives to increase the number of beds at state government hospitals.

At the same time, initiatives have been taken to augment manpower at the hospitals to provide service to the patients in areas that have witnessed a sudden spike in Covid cases.


Last week, the state government directed the hospitals to add 20 per cent more beds to its existing strength. This was decided during a meeting between the health directorate and all district chief medical officers.

With the availability of vaccines dropped alarmingly and most of the vaccination centres in the region shut down temporarily, special emphasis was given on arranging patient care facilities.

But in the wake of rapid growth in the positive cases, the administration in the districts were asked to accelerate the augmentation of Covid wards at the hospitals and arrange safe homes with sufficient numbers of supporting staff.

In the past 24 hours, 17,639 new Covid cases were recorded in the state with 107 deaths. Among the south Bengal districts, North 24-Parganas leads the chart in the number of infections and deaths, followed by Nadia, Birbhum, Bankura, and Hooghly.

In the past one week, 85 Covid patients died in North 24-Parganas. To contain the situation, the North 24-Parganas district administration has begun to increase Covid wards and safe homes on a war footing.

District magistrate Sumit Gupta on Tuesday visited the Panihati state general hospital and preparations are on to add more beds for Covid patients. The district has at present 1,250 Covid beds and 14 safe homes with 760 beds, which will be up by another 100.

“We have taken up a capacity augmentation programme for government-run hospitals on an emergency basis. We are trying our best to add more beds to the hospitals. Major hospitals like Barasat, Panihati and Basirhat will be adding more beds. The number of beds will be decided on depending on available infrastructure. At the same time, special emphasis has been taken up to add HDU and CCU beds for critical patients,” Gupta told The Telegraph.

“At the same time, we have requested the private hospital to augment their capacity to add more beds as far as possible,” Gupta added.

In Nadia, there are not enough beds at government hospitals as the number of patients is increasing alarmingly. On Monday, 587 new cases were reported. At present, Netaji Subhas Sanatorium & Tuberculosis Hospital in Kalyani is the only dedicated Covid hospital with a saturated capacity of 300 beds.

To manage the situation, the district administration has added an average 25 beds for Covid patients at the Nadia district hospital in Krishnagar, Nabadwip state general hospital and Tehatta subdivisional hospital. However, questions have been raised for not utilising the wide infrastructure of the Ranaghat subdivisional hospital that has good HDU and CCU facilities.

“We have sent proposals, but no approval in this regard has been received so far,” a health department official said in Krishnagar.

In Birbhum, the district administration has launched a 200-bed Covid unit at the Suri super speciality hospital. It has also decided to introduce an exclusive 200-bed women hospital on the same premises.

“We are hopeful to make it operational by next week,” an official said. At the same time Niramoy, a tuberculosis hospital in Dubrajpur which has been functioning as a safe home, was being converted into a Covid hospital.

In Bankura, the district administration launched a 100-bed Covid ward at the Bankura Sammilani Medical College. The district administration also decided to convert some state-owned auditoriums into safe homes.

In Hooghly, the district administration has been working fast to add at least 500 more beds to the existing infrastructure of the state-owned hospitals.

Additional reporting by Snehamoy Chakraborty

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