The Odisha government has ramped up preparation to deal with the COVID crisis at a time when the state’s count has gone up to 20 cases. Apart from setting up of three special COVID hospitals, the government has also kept 500 MBBS students trained to deal with the pandemic on standby.
In a bid to arrest community transmission the government on Friday (April 3) ordered a complete shutdown of three cities – Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Bhadrak – for 48 hours beginning Friday 8 pm after 15 new cases were reported the same day.
As many as 500 MBBS students have been given COVID-19 online training as approved by Centre, said Odisha governments COVID spokesperson Subroto Bagchi on Friday.
This apart, the state government has also kept in reserve some paramedics students like nurses to deal with the impending crisis due to sudden spike in COVID-19 cases. The government has also issued a notification seeking qualified specialists, including retired professionals to be deployed at various state-run hospitals on short term contract basis for a period of three months from April 1.
Related news: COVID-19: Odisha announces complete shutdown of 3 cities for 48 hours
Sources said the government has been preparing to engage about 8,000 doctors, staff nurses, pharmacists, laboratory technicians, radiographers, health workers (male and female), keeping in view the future requirement in the worst case.
They said Odisha has a sanctioned strength of 10,425 MBBS doctors and dentists apart from 1,285 Ayush doctors. At present 7,564 doctors and dentists are posted at various hospitals along with 794 Ayush doctors. The state government has recruited 1,039 medical graduates.
Meanwhile, Odisha’s third special COVID-19 hospital was inaugurated in Rourkela on Friday. The first two were opened in Bhubaneswar in a record time. The third hospital, set up by Hi-Tech Medical College and Hospital (HTMCH) in Rourkela, was inaugurated by Sundergarh Collector Nikhil Pawan Kalyan. The HTMCH is using its existing building and has 200 beds and 10 ICU beds. Doctors and other health officials of Rourkela Government Hospital (RGH) and HTMCH will attend to the patients at the new COVID Hospital.
On Thursday, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had inaugurated a 500-bed COVID-19 hospital at KIIMS in Bhubaneswar and a 125-bed at Ashwini Hospital in Cuttack. Apart from the state government, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Bhubaneswar has also set up an exclusive COVID unit with 206 beds in its campus in the capital city. Moreover, the AYUSH complex of AIIMS, Bhubaneswar is also ready with 20 isolation beds and ten ventilators as part of measures to grapple with the emerging situation, he said.
Related news: To beat lockdown blues, Odisha asks children to paint, write for online event
Besides, the state government has been preparing around 500 beds with ICU facilities exclusively for COVID-19 patients in Ganjam district. Arrangements have also been made for setting up of similar hospitals exclusively for COVID patients in different parts of the state including Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Rourkela, Dhenkanal, Puri and Paradip, sources said.
(With inputs from agencies)