Centre flags gaps in Punjab well being infrastructure

Today News Online Service

New Delhi, April 11

The central teams visiting Punjab to help the state contain the surge in Covid-19 cases have flagged the fast exhausting ICU bed capacity in most of the eight red districts witnessing a rise in infections.

The team in its report to the Health Ministry said while ICU bed occupancy rate in the state was high (see box), availability of isolation beds with oxygen was shrinking.

Second surge: Central team findings

  • Low testing in Patiala, no lab in Rupnagar for RT-PCR
  • Poor tracing in Patiala & Ludhiana
  • Tracing in SAS Nagar hit by manpower shortage
  • No dedicated Covid hospital in SAS Nagar, Rupnagar
  • Lack of Covid-appropriate behaviour in community
  • State needs to hire contractual healthcare workers

As of today, the occupancy rate of isolation beds with oxygen is — Hoshiarpur 98 per cent, SAS Nagar 69, Ludhiana 46, Amritsar 38, Jalandhar 35.6, SBS Nagar 35.2, Patiala 34.4 and Rupnagar 25 per cent. In all above districts, more than 75 per cent of the infected are under home isolation, mandating strict monitoring by the state health authorities.

The proportion of the positive persons isolated at home in the state are — Ludhiana 100 per cent, SAS Nagar 95, SBS Nagar 88.5, Jalandhar 82.3, Amritsar 78.6, Patiala 78, Hoshiarpur 77.82 and Rupnagar 77.3 per cent. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan flagged the above gaps to Punjab Principal Secretary, Health, Hussan Lal in a letter on Saturday, urging enhanced contact tracing in Patiala and Ludhiana.

“Contact tracing and surveillance efforts in SAS Nagar are being hampered due to shortage of manpower. Low rates of testing have been reported from Patiala. There is no RT-PCR testing laboratory in Rupnagar. This has to be addressed urgently,” Bhushan said.

Citing the findings of the Central teams, Bhushan said there was no dedicated Covid hospital in SAS Nagar and Rupnagar and patients were being referred to Chandigarh and other districts.

“The teams have reported lack of Covid care centre and dedicated Covid hospital in Rupnagar. Hospital bed occupancy rates in SAS Nagar, Jalandhar and Ludhiana are on the higher side and must be addressed in view of the surge. They have also reported issues with procurement of ventilators for proper case management in SBS Nagar and Rupnagar. Although ventilators are available, these are not being optimally utilised due to shortage of healthcare workforce, particularly doctors and nurses,” Bhushan said, advising Punjab to hire contractual workers. He said shortage of healthcare workforce had been reported from Patiala and SAS Nagar also.

ICU bed occupancy

  • Ludhiana 89%
  • SAS Nagar 80%
  • SBS Nagar 70.6%
  • Jalandhar 63.2%
  • Patiala 44.4%
  • Amritsar 40%
  • Hoshiarpur 20%

Ventilator occupancy (%)

SAS Nagar 30 
Hoshiarpur 20 
Jalandhar 27.4
Ludhiana 8
SBS Nagar 8
Patiala 6.64
Amritsar 6.5

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