Medical colleges to be converted into exclusive zones to treat COVID-hit

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Moving beyond the isolation wards created in hospitals to treat the COVID-19 cases, the Medical and Health authorities are gearing up to scale up infrastructure by converting the medical colleges into exclusive zones to treat the patients.

Eight confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the State so far. To be able to treat a large number of patients, if the need arises, the authorities propose to create 500 to 800 beds exclusively for the coronavirus patients. The proposal is to vacate medical colleges affiliated to the Government General Hospitals and divert the general patients to other hospitals.

The Siddhartha Medical College in Vijayawada, the Government General Hospital in Nellore and the Visakhapatnam Institute of Medical Sciences will be converted into COVID hospitals.

It may be noted here that going by the rapidity of the spread of the virus and the size and density of the population at risk, experts have asked the Medical Council of India (MCI) to allow telemedicine for a wider reachout.

A challenge

Faced with the challenge of preventing community transmission by isolating potential transmitters, the health authorities are trying to do all they can to contain the spread.

The number of cases increase when the population gets exposed and a large number of patients will need respiratory care.

“We are trying to create 400 beds with ventilators and all facilities to provide effective treatment to around 1,000 virus-afflicted patients in intensive care units and another 2,000 beds for the virus-hit,” Director of Medical Education K. Venkatesh told The Hindu.

Creating a chain of secondary and tertiary level hospitals is among other steps being taken to address the issue.

Community transmission

Even as health experts across the country fear many more infections and deaths before the novel coronavirus runs its course, Dr. Venkatesh says the focus at the moment is on preventing community transmission as it can spell a serious problem.

“After the lockdown, we need to see how the situation develops,” he says, emphasising the need for the affected persons to strictly adhere to the quarantine period.

“In the States such as Maharashtra and Kerala, secondary transmission has become a reality. Our efforts are aimed at averting such a situation,” he says.

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