Coronavirus in Kerala: How Ernakulam COVID-19 war-room helps patients find hospitals, oxygen supply

The officials also said that the capacity of beds can be further increased by another 500 as per the surge of Covid-19 cases. (Credit: The Indian Express)

A Covid-19 dedicated centralised war-room which facilitates hospital admissions, Oxygen supply and other pandemic related logistic challenges is garnering praise for making a difference in the Ernakulam district of Kerala. The district has more than 61000 active cases as of Wednesday’s figures and about 10000 patients are admitted into hospitals, domiciliary care centres and first and second-line treatment centres (FLTCs and SLTCs) across the district all coordinated through a well oiled machinery taking help from a centralised war room and decentralised health system, the Indian Express reported.

In contrast to the haphazard situation in which relatives of Covid-19 patients are running around the city to get hospital admissions, the Covid-19 patients in the district aided with technology and grassroot healthcare systems are being guided to get admission into the hospital. While the centralised facility to shift patients from home isolation to hospitals has been in operation since May last year, a separate war-room to monitor the Oxygen supply across the district is a new initiative in the district Covifd-19 management.

Explaining how the system is coming to aid of Covid-19 patients, Dr Vivek Kumar, additional district medical officer told the Indian Express that the centralised war-room has been demarcated into different units such as shifting of patients, surveillance, Oxygen supply, teleconsultation among others. When the patients test positive, they are to inform the ground level health workers who are capable of arranging teleconsultation for the patient if needed, he said. Further, if the doctor during teleconsultation finds that the patient needs to be admitted to a hospital then the central war-room comes into picture and facilitates shifting of patient to the hospital, he added.

Mathews Numpeli, who is the district programme manager of the NHM told the Indian Express that nodal officers at both private as well as government hospitals have been tasked with updating the latest availability/occupancy of beds, ICUs, ventilators on a portal in real time which can be accessed by the volunteers in the war-room. Numpeli further said that calls are actually made to the concerned hospitals to double check the numbers before the patients are shifted to the hospital. Similarly, the Oxygen supply war-room is being manned by about 50 volunteers who work in two shifts and update the Oxygen stocks data in the government as well as private hospitals.

Since the cases of Coronavirus are increasing fast in the district and hospitals in the district reach their full capacity, the district officials have issued instructions to prepare 500 Oxygen supported beds at the community-level health centre. The officials also said that the capacity of beds can be further increased by another 500 as per the surge of Covid-19 cases.

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