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Hosps still out of reach for critically ill as care centres gasp for oxygen
Though additional COVID care centres are launched in the city daily, thousands of COVID patients are still desperately waiting for oxygen and beds at government and private hospitals with health experts stating that these centres are not helping in reducing the load on the hospitals with oxygen beds.
Most of the COVID patients require beds with oxygen supply. However, both the government and private hospitals are unable to provide O2 beds for all the patients. These COVID Care Centres now mainly cater to patients with mild symptoms.
“COVID positive patients still wait for beds with oxygen supply throughout the day in ambulances even as these COVID care centres attend to patients with mild symptoms,” said E Theranirajan, Dean, RGGGH.
If a person has COVID symptoms, they will be tested at a fever clinic. If they are tested positive, based on their health status they will be guided for home quarantine, COVID care centre or if needed they will be admitted to the hospital.
Even the private hospitals in the city said COVID patients wait for hours to get oxygen beds. Dr Vijaylakshmi Balakrishnan, Senior Consultant, Infectious Diseases, Kauvery Hospital said they have patients from Chennai and outside and the number of patients for beds with oxygen supply has not come down in any way.
“We try to stratify patients, either category B1 (elderly and patients with mild symptoms), B2 (moderate infection who needs in-patient care) and C (patients who are critical). If there are more COVID care centres probably less of B1 will get admitted to the hospital. However, in the coming days, these centres will help in debulking, with priority now on oxygen beds,” said Dr Vijayalakshmi.
The COVID care centres will prevent transmission of coronavirus at home. It’s safe for those without facilities as per COVID home quarantine guidelines to get treatment at the care centre.
“After testing positive for COVID, the volunteers from Chennai Corporation called to know on my health status and came to check as I was eligible for home quarantine. Since I didn’t have a separate room and toilet at home, they shifted me to a nearby COVID care centre where I was treated for eight days before returning back home. Till now, I get regular calls from the corporation volunteers,” said Rajkumar, a resident of Nungambakkam.
“There are plenty of COVID patients who require ICU beds. At the care centre, they are monitored and cared for especially when their health status gets worse. But this is not helping to reduce the load on the private hospitals with oxygen beds,” said Dr Navin Gnanasekaran, MGM Healthcare.