As cases soar, Bengal plugs holes in COVID management, hires more docs

Govt to recruit house staff, medical officers and medical technicians through walk-in interviews, upload health details of patients on a website, keep track of patients admitted under the Critical COVID Patient Management System

Photo for representational purpose only: PTI

The West Bengal government has decided to further augment its health infrastructure to battle the COVID-19 pandemic by recruiting doctors on an emergency basis, introducing COVID patient management system and curtailing delay in delivery of COVID test results.

The slew of measures was proposed in view of the increase in caseloads after a spike in testing and also to plug lacunae in the monitoring and treatment of COVID-19 patients.

The state cabinet has already given approval for the recruitment of 500 house staff, 53 medical officers, and 18 medical technicians through walk-in interviews by-passing the existing recruitment process followed by the West Bengal Health Recruitment Board and the Municipal Service Commission.

The special recruitment drive has been necessitated as the state government has increased the number of beds for the COVID-care to 11,560.  The state has now 83 hospitals dedicated for the treatment of COVID-19. Apart from these hospitals there are also 6,908 beds in the state’s 106 safe homes.

Since Thursday the number of tests per day exceeded the 25,000-mark for the first time. With the positivity rate clocking 8.44 per cent, the pressure on the existing infrastructure would only increase.

According to the state health department’s figures, the current bed occupancy rate is 39.79 per cent as only 18 per cent of the infected persons are requiring hospitalisation.

“The COVID situation in the state is very much within our control and we are further augmenting infrastructure as the number of cases will naturally go up as we have considerably increased testing,” chief secretary Rajiva Sinha told newspersons.

Apart from that, the state government has also decided to upload health parameters of all hospitalised COVID-19 patients on a website so that the same could be available to relatives in a click.

The first of its kind initiative in the country comes after a series of allegations about relatives being kept in the dark about the health conditions of patients admitted to COVID hospitals. Besides, the department hopes the move will bring transparency and improve the treatment process by keeping hospitals, particularly the private ones, on the toes.

Expert teams formed by the department to supervise treatment protocols had earlier detected several deficiencies as had been reported by The Federal.

The health department officials claim they have already started maintaining the records of COVID-19 patients admitted in private and government hospitals under the Critical COVID Patient Management System (CCPMS) launched on August 1.

In a couple of weeks, the system would be made open to the public so that they could avail the information such as oxygen saturation level, pulse rate, blood sugar level and functioning of various organs, said the officials.

A team of 96 doctors of the health department are monitoring all admitted COVID patients under the CCPMS round-the-clock.

The officials said efforts were also underway to ensure that the Covid-19 test results are delivered within 24 hours of sample collection. At present, it takes 48 to 72 hours to get the result. This, officials said, would help reduce the mortality rate as 70 per cent of the deaths were due to delay in seeking medical help.

The mortality rate in the state is 2.2 per cent and 87.6 per cent of the deceased had co-morbidity.