Covid conundrum & preparedness in place: 1 lakh+ tests per day in Delhi
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Covid conundrum & preparedness in place: 1 lakh+ tests per day in Delhi

IMA has also issued alert and appealed to the public to follow Covid appropriate behavior

Covid conundrum & preparedness in place: 1 lakh+ tests per day in Delhi

New Delhi: In view of sudden surge of Covid cases in different countries, Indian Medical association (IMA) has issued alert and appealed to the public to follow Covid appropriate behavior with immediate effect. It has asked to avoid public gatherings, political meetings and international travel. It has also asked its state and local branches to take necessary preparatory steps in case of Covid outbreak in their areas. Delhi government is conducting nearly 2500 tests per day, but it has expanded the capacity to conduct up to 1 lakh tests per day in the national capital.

Government has assured the people of Delhi that there is no reason to worry as of now. If in a worst case scenario the COVID-19 cases are to rise, then the state government is well equipped to handle the increase in the number of cases. 

“Firstly, all the cases that are found to be positive for COVID-19 are being sent for genome sequencing, as per the rules laid out by the Central Government. Secondly, at the moment we are conducting nearly 2500 tests per day, but we have expanded our capacity to conduct up to 1 lakh tests per day in Delhi. Thirdly, if the need arises, we have kept 8,000 beds available for COVID-19 patients in Delhi. These are the beds that are vacant at the moment. During the peak of the COVID-19 wave last year, we had increased the number of beds to 25,000. This time the capacity has been ramped up to 36,000 beds,” an official in CMO told CitySpidey.

Oxygen infrastructure upgraded radically

He added, “One of the main problems during the pandemic last year was the availability of oxygen. On the one hand, oxygen was not available and if it was made available our capacity to store it was very low. This time we have ramped it up and we can store up to 928 metric tons of oxygen. Another key issue faced the last time around was the lack of oxygen cylinders. People were running around with patients looking for a cylinder last year. Apart from all the cylinders that are available in our government hospitals we also have a reserve of 6000 cylinders. Last year, during the peak of the pandemic, we had imported 6000 cylinders and these are now stocked in reserve. A problem that we faced the last time was if a state agreed to provide us oxygen, we did not have adequate numbers of tankers to bring it to Delhi. This time around the Delhi government has 12 tankers and there are another 3 private tankers that we can use if the need arises, so we have 15 tankers to transport oxygen.”

Also read: Four possible Coronavirus future scenarios!

Govt urges people to get their precautionary doses

According to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, “The vaccination coverage for the first two doses in Delhi is nearly 100 percent, but unfortunately the coverage for the precautionary dose is only 24 percent. I urge all the people in the state to come out and get their precautionary doses. Even in the meeting today, I urged the officers to arrange a campaign under which we can go door-to-door and get the people to take their precautionary doses. We have an adequate number of ambulances to transport people from their homes to the hospitals. We have 380 ambulances at the moment and today we have asked for the procurement of more ambulances. So, we are as prepared as we can be to face another wave of Covid-19, but we hope that things remain under control and we do not have to use these provisions.”

Global COVID situation and a blueprint on preparedness

Officials from the Health Department recently presented information about the global situation of COVID-19 in front of the CM. According to WHO, COVID-19 is rapidly spreading in many countries, including China. COVID-19 infection rates seem to be about 3% higher between December 12 and 18 than the previous week. Officials stated that the department is completely serious about preventing COVID-19 infection and that the guidelines received are strictly followed in addition to continuous testing. Work on complying with the new guidelines has also begun on the end of the government.

All positive cases are sent for genome sequencing

Chief Minister has given strict instructions to health department officials to keep a close eye on COVID and said that COVID testing should be expedited. He directed the officials to closely monitor the emergence of the new corona virus strain and send all positive samples for genome sequencing, so that if a new form of corona emerges, it can be detected and treated quickly. The Health Department currently has the capacity to test more than one lakh people per day.

Eight thousand beds can be arranged if needed

In view of the possibility of a rise in corona cases, adequate arrangement of beds would be ensured for the patients. “Apart from the beds available in the hospitals, we have to make arrangements for additional beds in advance so that no one faces any problem,” CM said, directing the officials. He further noted that the government has a capacity to treat 1,100 patients in home isolation and more than eight thousand beds can be created at 13 places in Delhi if needed and gave instructions to the department to start work towards the same.

Officers instructed to increase awareness regarding precaution dose

The CM has observed that the government will also have to increase awareness for the precaution dose in time. He has instructed the officials to increase awareness and motivate people to take the precaution dose so that no one is deprived of it due to lack of information and they can stay safe even during a rise in cases.

Advanced & timely approval for procurement of essential items

In view of a potential spread, CM has further instructed the officials of the Health Department to ensure advanced and timely procurement of essential items that are falling short or are not available in the hospital. He has said that the officials should take prior approval so that orders can be put on tender well in time for procurement of essential items including oxygen, tankers, ambulances and medical equipment, so that in case of an emergency, work orders can be issued immediately. He has directed the officials to hold a meeting with the oxygen suppliers and inform them as to how much oxygen would be needed during peak surge so that they too can be prepared in time.

Testing of all machines and equipment across all hospitals

CM has instructed the Health Department to inspect all the hospitals in Delhi. He said, “Whether it is a government hospital or a private hospital, the machines available in all should be inspected whether and tested to see if they are working as per expected need or not. If not, then the concerned hospital should be instructed to get it fixed immediately. It should not happen that in case of emergency the machine breaks down and patients have to face trouble.”

Manpower to be increased in hospitals

He also gave instructions to increase manpower in all government hospitals to deal with the emergency in view of the Corona situation. During the last wave, the Delhi government had increased the manpower as per the requirement and also provided training to the paramedics. Those of them whose contract has ended will be re-trained and posted in hospitals.

Present Status of Hospital Beds in Delhi

Delhi has a total of 8,211 COVID beds, of these 3,416 beds are under Delhi Government’s hospitals, 1,729 in Central Government’s hospitals, and 3,066 Private Hospitals. Further, there are 7,766 Oxygenated COVID Beds, of which 3,316 are in Delhi Government’s hospitals, 1,705 in Central Government’s Hospitals, and 2745 in Private Hospitals. There are a total of 1,909 ICU Beds in Delhi, 1045 under Delhi Government, 202 under Central Government and 662 under Private Hospitals, 1,100 of these beds have ventilator facilities. The Delhi Government further has the capacity to expand the number of beds, if at all needed. 

Present Status of Vaccination in Delhi

Through its constant efforts to protect the city, Delhi Government has achieved great success in vaccinating the city’s population as well as those coming from outside. Over 3.73 crore doses have been administered in Delhi as of 21st December 2022. Against the national average of 98% coverage of the 1st dose among the 18+ population, Delhi has achieved 112% coverage, whereas for the second dose Delhi has achieved 97% coverage against the national average of 92%. In the 15-17 year old age group, the Delhi Government has achieved 99% coverage so far for the first dose, against the national average of 84%. Whereas it has achieved 86% coverage against the national average of 72% for the second dose. Similarly, in the 12-14 age group, Delhi Government has achieved 111% coverage for the first dose against the national average of 88% and 80% coverage for the second dose against the national average of 69%.

Take precaution dose in interest of your own safety

Noting a shortfall in the number of citizens coming forward for the second dose, CM has appealed to all Delhiites to take the precaution dose in interest of their own safety. While a majority of Healthcare and Frontline workers have been vaccinated with the precaution dose, citizens in the 18-59 and 60+ age brackets need to get themselves vaccinated as soon as possible. Cumulatively in all the three categories, over 1.4 crore citizens are due for the precaution dose whereas over 33.58 lac citizens have received their precaution dose. To ensure that every citizen gets vaccinated in time, the CM has directed all concerned officials to ramp up awareness programs and motivate everyone to come forward and take their precaution dose.

Directions to increase ambulances as per situation

The CM has issued directions to increase the numbers as per the requirement of the situation as well so that there is no shortage during emergency.

Present Status of Oxygen Infrastructure

As of 21st December 2022, Delhi has 928.58MT of Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO). Additionally there is a 442MT buffer of LMO in 8 reserve storage tanks across the state. At present, there is 224.89MT LMO stored in oxygen cylinders with medical institutions. The government further has 6,000 additional oxygen cylinders in its reserve. There are a total of 98 PSA plants in Delhi with a capacity of 116.96MT. The government also has 2 cryogenic bottling plants available with a capacity of 12.5MT LMO to refill 1,400 cylinders per day. To transport oxygen from plants outside the state, Delhi has a total of 15 LMO tankers ready for use with 12 under the DTC and 3 under private agencies.