Private Hospitals To Treat COVID-19 From Tomorrow
From Thursday onwards, Private hospitals will begin treatment and admission of coronavirus Covid-19 patients.
After a sudden increase in cases of Covid-19 in India and a possible threat of community transmission, the government has roped in private hospitals and directed them to begin admissions. For suspected Covid-19 patients, Private Healthcare Institutions were only required to collect throat swab samples and advise them to home quarantine while awaiting test results.
The government had asked private hospitals to gear up for treating Covid-19 by identifying separate isolation wards. Even as hospitals will begin admissions from Thursday, they still do not have the necessary permissions from the ICMR(Indian Council of Medical Research) for testing.
“There is a lot of confusion as right now the approvals for testing are coming very slowly,” said a medical administrator of a private hospital. “We take a swab and a form is filled.
Then the swab is sent to a government hospital, which gives the go-ahead to collect the sample. Then we collect. There is a 1st screening report and after another okay, we get a confirmatory report. All this takes 6 hours to 4 days. We cannot do this tedious process if numbers increase.”
All private hospital chains have found out isolation wards, which are accessible from a separate entrance and have independent air tube to prevent any infection to other patients in the hospitals.
Isolation beds have been kept at a distance of 1 meter and wards have been equipped with oxygen supply and ventilators. The hospitals have found out dedicated manpower, which will work in shorter hour shifts but would work for 1 week and get 2 weeks off.
According to hospitals, the bigger challenge is the availability of PPE(Personal Protective Equipment) such as face masks and gowns. “We have stocks but we do not have any estimate how long would these last. This is why we are going to advise our staff to use them prudently.
In Delhi, a senior doctor at a private hospital said, “The government has assured us a supply chain but we do not know how”. The hospitals are now looking at quick fixes for PPEs. They have procured non-porous sheets and have asked their tailors to make make-shift gowns and protective gear.
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