Kerala’s health minister K.K. Shailaja said late Monday night that the state was planning to act against the sharp rise in coronavirus cases on a war-footing.
Kerala reported 28 new patients on Monday, nearly double the cases reported the previous day and the highest rise in patients the state had seen in a single day. Kasargod district, which is worst-affected in the state, was locked down on March 21.
On March 22, Shailaja said in a statement that the state had formulated three plans—A, B and C—to meet healthcare needs as the number of patients increased in the state.
Plan A and B were formulated when India’s first coronavirus patient arrived in the state on January 30. These were made in case the number of patients began to rise.
The state has been simultaneously working on increasing the number of doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers, medicines, safety equipment and ventilators, Shailaja had said in her statement.
Among the 18 committees the state formed to coordinate preventive measures, the infrastructure committee and private hospital coordination committee were created specifically to set up isolation beds across the state.
According to Shailaja’s statement, the three plans have been prepared keeping in mind that only those who are directly admitted to hospitals on arrival in the state) and those in home quarantine who start to show symptoms will be treated in isolation rooms.
This was put into action when the first patient arrived from Wuhan on January 30. It includes the involvement of 50 government hospitals and two private hospitals at which 974 isolation beds were prepared to treat patients. 242 more such beds were identified in case of need.
This is the plan currently in operation because, as of the last update by Shailaja, only 1000 isolation beds have been used so far.
Plan B involved 71 government hospitals and 55 private hospitals at which 1408 isolation beds were prepared, and 17 more identified, if need arose.
Plan C was formulated on February 29 after a family of three in Pathanamthitta—who had returned from Italy—tested positive along with two other relatives they had been in contact with. The family had been admonished for hiding travel history and flouting guidelines.
“If the public becomes cautious and follows social distancing, we can fight off COVID-19 with Plan B itself. But if a community spread arises and more cases get reported, we will go to Plan C,” said Shailaja in her statement outlining the plan.
So, this plan is in case of massive rise in case due to community transmission.
For this, isolation beds have been identified for coronavirus patients at all major government-run hospitals in the state. In these hospitals, non-essential departments will be emptied and the number of patients reduced to make space for the coronavirus patients.
3028 beds are identified for this at 81 government hospitals and 41 private hospitals.
Apart from this, Plan B and C together include preparation of 218 ICU beds. If needed, the state will include the participation of more private hospitals.
Corona care centres
The government is also setting up 147 corona care centres, which include college and school hostels, vacant flats and buildings.
The health minister has said that if Kerala progresses to stage 3, 21,866 people can be accommodated in these centres.