Private hospitals in India are ramping up operations to start admitting coronavirus patients from Thursday. With the spike in the number of coronavirus positive cases, the Centre had released an advisory on Friday saying no public or private hospital should turn away a suspected coronavirus patient and admission of such patients should be notified immediately to the government.
The total number of coronavirus cases in India has risen to 562, of which 512 are active cases while the rest have been declared cured.
On Monday, the Centre directed private hospitals across India to designate dedicated wings to treat the affected patients, prepare for sample collection, discharge patients who are stable and divide medical staff into two groups so that even if one group gets infected, the other can work. In response to the advisory, most private hospitals are set to start admitting patients by Thursday, the Economic Times reported on Wednesday. The private hospitals gearing up for COVID-19 have dedicated separate wards and entrance for treating coronavirus positive and suspected cases
However, the report notes private hospitals are yet to get a green signal from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for even testing. Reportedly, the approvals for private testing are coming at a slow rate. Private hospitals are facing considerable delay in getting a government’s hospital approval in each stage of swab collection, sample collection, screening report and the final confirmatory report.
So far, the private health centres were only required to collect throat swab samples for suspected COVID-19 patients and advise them to home quarantine while awaiting test results.
With patient admission all set to begin in the next 24 hours, almost all major private hospital chains are facing severe shortage of equipment and protective gear for its medical staff to fight coronavirus infection. This is another serious concern as in China, as on March 4, at least 3,300 healthcare workers were infected with coronavirus in the course of treating the masses.
In India, hospital staff are already reeling under severe shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE). They have already urged the Centre to ensure steady supply of protective masks and gear.