With a surge in the daily number of Covid-19 cases and the demand for beds in hospitals, the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital (NBMCH) is set to get 96 high dependency unit (HDU) beds separately.
The Covid Block at the NBMCH, which has the bed capacity of 110, was opened on 19 February after the state government handed back two private health facilities it had requisitioned for the treatment of Covid-19 patients, following a decline in the number of cases.
“We decided today that 96 more HDU beds will be augmented at the NBMCH soon, since there has been a surge in Covid-19 cases. The bed accommodation will be made separately by clubbing four wards. Manpower will be arranged for,” said the officer on special duty for Covid-19 in north Bengal Dr Susanta Kumar Roy.
The Covid Block already has 10 HDU beds and eight Critical Care Unit beds. Dr Roy chaired a highlevel meeting with senior health department officials and NBMCH doctors and discussed preparedness today. “One safe home at Hatighisa is functional. Another home will be reopened at the Municipal Corporation Indoor Stadium. The bed capacity there will be increased from 50 to 70. This apart, plans are afoot to reopen safe homes at Batasi (Kharibari) and Limbutari (Phansidewa),” Dr Roy said.
“Covid-19 had reached its peak in November and cases started declining in December-January, according to the status of the cases in north Bengal. We have recorded 1174 cases between 1 April and 17 April in Darjeeling, while the highest number of cases was reported in Malda (2300) during those days. The figures show the virulence of the second wave,” he added.
Dr Roy also held election campaigns, including rallies, and laxity on the part of the people responsible for the spurt in north Bengal. According to him, they were requesting people to follow Covid protocols. “There is no alternative to wearing masks,” he said.
The health department, however, does not encourage people to opt for home isolation in view of the renewed surge, but advises them to get admitted to safe homes even for mild symptoms. As there has been a significant surge in demand for medical oxygen and many patients need oxygen support, Dr Roy said oxygen concentrators will also be installed. The process provides a higher amount of oxygen needed for the patient, he said.
At present, more than 1400 tests are conducted at the Virus Research and Diagnostic Laboratory at the NBMCH on an average every day, and around 10-11 percent are found to be positive. Meanwhile, an intern, Anik Mondal, later said many people had turned up for tests at the NBMCH kiosk, but that
they had been denied the same.
Outgoing tourism minister Gautam Deb today requested people to wear masks, wash hands with sanitisers frequently, and maintain physical distance. Mr Deb added, “Examinations have been postponed, and students and common people will be the worst sufferers. We may face
a more difficult situation,” he added. He shared two contact numbers for people who can seek help for Covid-19 related issues–96474-96475 and 81457-94997.