The Darjeeling district health department has geared up to make arrangements for separate hospital for treatment of COVID-19 patents. The state government has ordered all district authorities to prepare a nodal coronavirus (COVID-19) hospital.

“We have started the process to select hospitals that would be used exclusively for the treatment of such patients in the district,” said Darjeeling district chief medical officer of health Dr Pralay Acharya.

Sources said around three such facilities are likely to come up in the region. “The health department is initially planning to set up the infrastructure in at least two places in the Plains and one in the Hills.

The main purpose is decentralise the treatment to ease the pressure at principal health facilities. Those set-ups will be equipped with ventilators and other equipment,” sources said.

As part of the government’s bid to strengthen the infrastructure at the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital (NBMCH) to deal with COVID- 19 cases, authorities here have sought 10 anesthetists/critical care trained medical officers and twenty ICU technicians “for uninterrupted patient care services in view of isolation of health care workers…” urgently with the health department.

The NBMCH is struggling to deal with the rising number of suspected cases, despite increasing the number of beds in the ward.“We are urgently in need of such manpower to deal with the situation, at least till the period of hospital duties related to the coronavirus,” said an NBMCH doctor associated with critical healthcare services.

Meanwhile, amid outrage that NBMCH was ill-equipped in treating patients, around 500 personal protective equipment (PPE) and masks were brought at the region’s premiere health facility today.

Doctors said that as part of the management of the disease, the NBMCH has requested the department to ensure 700 pieces of PPE every week, 1000 pieces of three-layered surgical masks weekly, 25 pairs of gumboots every week, 25 pieces of heavy duty long arm gloves every week, 150 pieces of N-95 masks every week, 1000 pieces of 70% alcohol based sanitisers (500 ml) per week, one percent hypochlorite solution–700 liters per week.

“Such items are required for the management of COVID- 19 suspects or confirmed cases, since there has been a spike in the number of patients,” a doctor said. State tourism minister Guatam Deb held a meeting at the NBMCH today to check the preparedness level for treating conronavirus patients.

NBMCH security guards stage protest – Security guards at the NBMCH on Tuesday demonstrated for several hours and demanded masks and gloves to be worn on duty. There are 84 security guards, including four supervisors. They resumed duties after they were given the masks.