COVID-19 in Mumbai: Amid surge in cases, BMC to make 2,269 beds available in private hospitals
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Mumbai: Amid rising COVID-19 cases in Mumbai, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Tuesday said that the civic body will make 2,269 COVID-19 beds available, which will include 360 ICU beds, in private hospitals with immediate effect.

"We will be making additional 2,269 COVID beds available to our citizens in private hospitals (including 360 ICU beds) with immediate effect. This will be in addition to more than 3,000 beds currently vacant in Mumbai for COVID-19 patients (including currently vacant 450 beds in private hospitals). We are also operationalising additional 1,500 beds in Jumbo field hospitals this week to take vacant beds to approximately to 7,000 by this weekend," BMC commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal said.

Chahal further said no bed will be allotted directly to anyone by hospitals. "But no bed will be allotted directly to anyone by hospitals. All allotment of hospital beds shall be through 24 ward war rooms only and therefore no one should try to procure positive COVID-19 report directly from Testing Labs. Let the name come to us in our line list from labs at midnight and we will go to their homes with availability of beds early next morning as we are doing since last June. Let us all follow the system please," BMC commissioner added.

Meanwhile, the BMC on Monday decided to discharge asymptomatic patients at the earliest to vacate beds for the patients with more serious symptoms.

In its order, the BMC said that no asymptomatic COVID-19 positive patient without any comorbidities will be allotted a COVID bed in any public or private hospital. It described the "needy" patient as the one with "mild or serious symptoms or a COVID-19 patient with comorbidities".

BMC commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal has empowered assistant commissioners to take decisions at the ward level and stressed activation of war rooms at the ward level for better management of available beds, ICU beds, ventilators among others, as per the order.

Chahal stated all admissions should be routed through the ward level war rooms to avoid any chaos experienced during the first wave of coronavirus when several patients ran from the pillar to post to get a bed.

The civic chief also pointed out that direct admission in any COVID Care Centre or private hospitals will not be permitted without prior intimation to the ward war room.

"No asymptomatic COVID-19 positive patient without any co-morbidities be allotted COVID bed in any public/private hospital to ensure prompt availability of beds to the needy.

Urgently discharge any asymptomatic COVID positive patients admitted to any COVID hospital to vacate the beds," Chahal said.

The order stated that 80 per cent of the total beds and 100 per cent of ICU beds in private hospitals shall be kept reserved only for the allotment through the ward war rooms for COVID-19 patients.

"No direct admissions on these reserved beds to be taken by hospitals," the order said.

Chahal directed all hospitals in the megapolis to charge patients as per the rates notified by the Maharashtra government. "All the bills will be audited by the municipal auditors," the commissioner said.

Chahal also directed officials to immediately assess the structural stability and fire audit of all COVID facilities.

Meanwhile, Mumbai on Monday recorded 5,888 new COVID-19 cases. With this, the total count of positive cases went up to 3,04,562. The city reported 12 COVID-19 deaths, taking the total fatalities to 11,661.

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