Even as the bed availability in Pimpri-Chinchwad is fast running out, there is some relief for COVID-19 patients as the civic body has finally managed to restart the 800-bed jumbo hospital in the Nehrunagar area. The PCMC administration said it also planned to increase 300 more beds at its three hospitals.
“We have restarted the jumbo hospital. As of now, there are 50 patients admitted to the facility. We have started it with 200 beds and will increase it to 400 beds in the coming days,” Municipal Commissioner Rajesh Patil told The Indian Express this morning.
The jumbo hospital is a joint initiative of PMRDA, PCMC, and the district collectorate. It is run by a private contractor. The hospital, which was started in September, was closed down in January after COVID-19 cases dropped drastically from November. As COVID cases started rising in mid-February and reached its new peak in March, hospitals started running out of bed space forcing PCMC to restart the jumbo hospital and its COVID Care Centres.
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Additional health chief Dr Pavan Salve said the Gharkul Covid Care Centre will have 300 beds which will further add to the bed capacity in the industrial city. “I don’t think we will fall short of bed capacity as many private hospitals are coming forward to admit COVID-19 patients. Even hospitals that have 10-15 beds are willing to admit COVID patients. We are giving them permission after considering their eligibility,” he said.
Meanwhile, not just COVID patients from PCMC even those in PMC areas are struggling to find a bed. One such instance came to light on Tuesday when a family of a 40-year-old patient spent the entire day looking for bed in hospitals in the PMC area. “There were no beds with PMC hospitals neither with the private hospitals. We had to contact PCMC hospital at Auto Cluster, Chinchwad where luckily one bed was available,” a member of the family said.
When contacted, Dr Holkunde said, “The Auto Cluster facility has been running to fully capacity from February itself. Every day we have to turn away several patients. We are under directions from PCMC to only admit patients who require oxygen facility.”
Dr Shrikrishna Joshi, the spokesperson of Lokmany Hospital, said, “We are turning away at least 30-40 patients every day as our 120-bed capacity hospital is full of COVID patients. We can’t help…patients are indeed struggling to quickly find a bed space.”