MCH, Fort Kochi hospital are COVID treatment centres, again

Private hospitals directed to set aside 20% of beds

The Government Medical College Hospital and the Fort Kochi taluk hospital are being turned into COVID hospitals again, going by an order issued by District Collector S. Suhas on Tuesday.

The District Medical Officer has also been directed to immediately initiate necessary steps to treat COVID patients at the super-speciality block of the Ernakulam General Hospital. All taluk hospitals and community health centres that offer inpatient services must make arrangements for emergency care for COVID patients. Private hospitals have been directed to set aside 20% of their beds (including ICUs) for COVID treatment.

Ward-level rapid response teams will regularly contact people who are recovering from the infection at home and help them access tele-consultation services if needed. All hospitals have been directed to set up a help desk.

A meeting of senior doctors at the MCH on Monday had decided on a phased plan to convert the MCH into a COVID hospital. Going by phase one of the plan, general medicine and pulmonary medicine outpatient services will remain suspended, while all other outpatient services will continue. Emergency services are to continue normally. There will be no disruption in clinical teaching.

Fifty oxygen beds will be readied in two wards on Wednesday for new COVID patients. Patients in the general medicine department admitted in these wards will be shifted to other government hospitals. Other inpatient services are to continue at the hospital.

The MCH had functioned exclusively as a COVID-19 treatment centre from March onwards last year. Earlier this year, the hospital opened up for non-COVID treatment services when medical students and house surgeons suggested that their medical training had taken a beating since non-COVID services were not being provided at the hospital. Even after it opened to non-COVID inpatients, critically-ill COVID patients continue to receive treatment at the hospital.

“Only once the Government Medical College Hospital begins admitting COVID patients like the facility did earlier, will the district be able to offer sufficient patient care,” said Dr. N.K. Kuttappan, District Medical Officer.

On treatment for non-COVID patients, Dr. Kuttappan said that the Ernakulam General Hospital and other government facilities were all available for non-COVID treatment services. “As the situation changes, all hospitals will be compelled to offer treatment to COVID patients, if the need arises,” he added.

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