Though the flow of patients has decreased at the jumbo COVID care centres, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has no plan to shut all the jumbo corona care centres for the next three months.
This move comes after the reports of the new strain of COVID-19 found in the UK and the Middle East. The civic officials said currently all decisions related to corona are on standby fearing that cases might arise in future and they will be holding a review meeting next month in January regarding closing the jumbo COVID care centres.
Currently, there are five jumbo COVID care facilities in Mumbai at Byculla, Bandra Kurla Complex, Nesco grounds (Goregaon East), Mulund and Dahisar. The general ward at the jumbo facility in Mahalaxmi has been discontinued. However, the ICU and ventilation system continue to operate.
“All the jumbo facilities are still operational. The manpower and logistics from the smaller facilities are now being transferred to these facilities. Also, the smaller facilities are not being shut permanently as we can still reactivate them if the need arises," said a senior health official.
Between September and December, the civic body has shut nearly 450 small COVID care facilities across all the 24 municipal wards in Mumbai. The civic officials said that most of these facilities are now on standby mode which means although they are shut, yet they can be made operational within 48 hours if the need arises.
Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani, who looks after the health department, said, “We will review the situation in the first week of January and decide the future course of action as far as these COVID treatment facilities are concerned. They could be entirely shut or their operations scaled down.”
Senior officials said though the number of patients has reduced in the city and the recovery rate has also increased to 93 per cent, they are being more careful since last week when the new strain of SARS-CoV-2 virus has been found.
“We are getting all good signs as cases have declined and for the last two days, zero cases were reported in Dharavi and Dadar. But we are not hurrying in closing the covid jumbo centres stating there might be a rise in cases next year,” he said.
The SevenHills Hospital at Marol has 1,495 beds, of which 691 are presently occupied, followed by NESCO facility at Goregaon which can accommodate 2,040 patients but has only 136 patients.
A senior officer of the BMC said that most of the COVID-19 patients these days are asymptomatic and don’t require hospitalisation. Those who cannot afford the expenses come to the BMC hospitals while patients from middle class or upper-middle-class go to private ones.