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CHENNAI

Govt. hospitals get ready for surge in COVID-19 cases

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With infrastructure intact, the authorities are ready to meet any exigency in the intake of patients

With the number of fresh COVID-19 infections steadily rising in the city, the government hospitals are in a state of preparedness.

The infrastructure created was in place and the hospitals are gearing up to add more facilities and manpower in case of a surge.

The major government medical college hospitals set up exclusive COVID-19 facilities last year. As the number of fresh cases started to decline, the hospitals resumed their regular activities such as elective surgeries and outpatient services since October 2020.

In the last 10 days, the number of cases had been rising in Chennai. However, hospital authorities said the treatment facilities were intact.

At the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH), Tower 3 continues to be an exclusive COVID-19 facility with three floors of 120 beds each. Of these, 40 to 50 beds were allotted for intensive care units. “We have four wings on each floor, two each for ICUs and two for patients in need of oxygen and high flow nasal cannula. The hospital’s COVID-19 bed strength is 1,618,” E. Theranirajan, dean of RGGGH, said.

On an average, the COVID-19 outpatient department received 150 to 160 patients a day while there were 184 in-patients — 111 who had tested positive for COVID-19 and 73 persons with suspected symptoms of COVID-19. “On an average, we are admitting 10 to 20 COVID-19 positive patients a day,” he said. Doctors and staff nurses were adequately posted.

Well prepared

The Government Medical College Hospital, Omandurar Estate, has 258 in-patients. Of them, 178 were positive for COVID-19.

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“We are in a state of preparedness. We did not dismantle the infrastructure created for COVID-19. Already, 550 beds were allotted for COVID-19. We have 300 beds in place and will increase [their number] as and when required. We have COVID-19 facility in Tower 2, while two floors in Tower 3 are available. We activated our operation theatres and all other non-COVID activities. If needed, we might slowly de-escalate non-COVID activities,” R. Jayanthi, dean of the hospital, said.

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The vaccination was running simultaneously at four sites, covering 500 people a day, she said. She said that people should strictly follow COVID-19 norms such as masking, maintaining physical distancing and hand hygiene to prevent cases from rising while all those eligible should get vaccinated.

P. Balaji, dean of Government Stanley Medical College Hospital, said the COVID-19 bed strength was 1,200. “The dedicated block continues to function with 600 beds now. We held meetings with our staff , including professors and nurses, on how to be ready if there was a surge in cases. We have an adequate stock of personal protective equipment,” he said. The hospital had 60 patients with COVID-19.

At the Government Kilpauk Medical College Hospital, dean P. Vasanthamani said the construction of a new block was under way. “We have 180 beds in a new block for COVID-19 patients. If needed, we are planning to step up the facility,” she said.

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