Amid the ongoing surge in single-day Corona cases, chief minister Mamata Banerjee today announced an increase in testing facilities and COVID beds as well as the appointment of 500 house staff and strengthening the ‘COVID patient management system’ to combat the current situation.
The state Cabinet today approved the creation of 500 new posts of house staff and allowed the appointment of medical technicians, nurses and doctors through direct walk-in interview under West Bengal Health Recruitment Board and West Bengal Municipal Service Commission instead of the usual process of advertisement followed by test and interview.
Given the present emergency, it has been decided to conduct a direct walk-in-interview due to the huge demand and shortage of time, said Miss Banerjee after the Cabinet meeting in Nabanna today. “The infection is spreading as people are not being careful. Even after being repeatedly told they are not wearing masks. Masks make one feel uncomfortable but nothing can be done as it is the only way to avoid the infection from spreading,” said Miss Banerjee.
She said that the Independence Day programme would be held on a small scale at Red Road this time and urged people to avoid gatherings. She directed officials to guard against fake pathologists conducting COVID tests and urged people to check the credentials of the testing agency before going ahead with the test. Along with this, Miss Banerjee asked officials to be vigilant against the accumulation of water to tackle dengue.
Of the total COVID detected patients, the fatality rate is 2.2 percent of which 87.6 per cent deaths are due to comorbidity. So, unless there are some other diseases chances of a person dying due to COVID is extremely low,” said chief secretary Rajiva Sinha and advised arranging pulse oximeters in homes or residential complexes and contacting doctors if the oxygen level drops below 90. Presently, there are 22,900 active COVID cases, of which, 4,031 are admitted in hospitals which mean 18 per cent are admitted, he said. Among the admitted patients, 1149 are critical, 1043 have moderate symptoms and 1134 have no symptoms.
Bengal government has met the target of conducting over 25,000 tests and increasing Covid beds from 11,000 to 11,500 within 15 August, he said adding that currently, there are 11,560 beds in Covid hospitals. There are a total of 23,500 beds in 106 safe homes and 83 Covid hospitals. Mr Sinha said that the occupancy rate in COVID hospitals has constantly stood at around 39 per cent in the last 10 days, indicating that 60 per cent of the beds are available.
“Probably, people in urban areas may not get admission in the hospital of their choice but we can assure that the best treatment will be meted out to them wherever they are admitted,” he said. He said that the state government has come up with a ‘COVID patient management system’ under which the health department maintains a detailed record of all the COVID patients who are undergoing treatment in hospitals. University students from departments of journalism, psychology and bioscience have been roped in to assist the telemedicine facility wherein they take the calls and forward those to the doctors as per requirement.
Till now, 42,584 people have been provided telemedicine facilities of which 2,912 availed the facility yesterday. Since 1 August, psychological counselling has been provided to 3,875 Covid patients through telephone. Ambulance service has been provided free of cost to 54,571 people since July and people can dial 40902929 for availing this service. For any assistance, one can dial the toll-free number ~ 1800313444222.