Coronavirus in Mumbai: State devises new sorting process for CoVID-19 patients

Mumbai: In the midst of the pandemic, the state health department has modified its Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the treatment of CoVID-19 patients. According to the new guidelines, symptomatic patients will be divided into three categories - mild, moderate and severe to curb any possible transmission of virus.

This comes after the public health department received several complaints from patients and their kin that all suspected patients were being held just one foot apart at quarantine centres.

Dr Daksha Shah, deputy executive health officer, BMC, said, “At present, even those with minor symptoms rush to Kasturba Hospital for screening. This leads to the accumulation of crowds and puts too much pressure on a single hospital. So, in the interests of safety, we have decided to trifurcate the crowd.”

According to the new SOP, a copy of which is available with The Free Press Journal, suspected/ positive patients will be provided treatment in different health set-ups. For mild cases, the state government will set up CoVID care centres in vacant lodges, hostels, hotels and stadiums. For moderately-affected patients, there will be dedicated health centres while severe cases will be treated at hospitals with ICU facilities. This new sorting system has been set up to optimise the existing infrastructure for better treatment and identification.“

A patient will be categorised as ‘mild’ only if he/she has fever or cold. They will be taken to Covid care centres in makeshift facilities like lodges, stadiums, schools, hotels and hostels. In this backdrop, the BMC has procured the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Indoor Stadium where it is in the process of establishing a 2,000-bed quarantine facility,” said an official.

“These facilities must have separate areas for suspected and confirmed cases, and preferably, separate entry and exit points. Suspected and confirmed cases must not be allowed to mix under any circumstances,” reads the SOP. Under the new directive, services of doctors from AYUSH will be sought for additional help in manning these centres.

Patients in the second category will include those with pneumonia and no sign of severe disease, who will be clinically identified as moderate cases. These patients will be either hospitalised or kept in an extended part of hospitals. The presence of medical equipment like oxygen cylinders is essential.

Pneumonia patients with respiratory rate below 30 beats per minute will be considered ‘severe’ cases and undergo treatment in dedicated CoVID hospitals. They will be kept under observation in the intensive care units of hospitals.

“When the virus (SARS-CoV-2) gets into the body through the nostrils, the person develops mild fever and cold. When it goes further down through the throat, the patient develops moderate symptoms, depending on the co-morbid issues. In the last stage, as the virus reaches the lungs, it leads to the development of a severe form of pneumonia,” said Dr Om Srivastava, a city epidemiologist.“

In 60-70% of the cases, patients get diagnosed in the first stage of infection,” he said.

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