Mumbai: BMC's COVID-19 helpline number gets bed-related query every 15 minutes

The city’s 24 ward war rooms have been fielding more than 2,000 calls on a 24x7 basis, from anxious relatives of patients enquiring about the availability of Covid beds in the city. People have also been calling up to enquire about the vaccination process and other queries related to Covid. Officials say all the ward war rooms are working on a war footing to tackle the increased workload since the surge in cases in the city. Every ward-ward room gets 80-90 calls daily, with most callers seeking information on hospital admissions for moderately and severely symptomatic patients.

Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani said all the war rooms had been directed to be on their toes and provide the necessary details related to Covid-19 -- beds, home isolation procedures, vaccination and any other pandemic-related queries. The number of Covid staff in the war rooms too has been increased. “We have all our facilities in readiness for the worst-case scenario and have strictly directed staff in the Covid ward war rooms to be well-prepared with Covid bed details. On a daily basis, every ward gets around 100 calls, of which 20 per cent pertain to ambulances,” he said.

“We have also learnt that citizens have become more alert. If any family member shows symptoms, they call the helpline and seek advice. They also ask about the measures that need to be taken if they are home quarantined,” Kakani added.

Doctors heading the K-east ward war room say that the calls had diminished when cases had stabilised in Mumbai, until February 10. After that, cases began to steadily rise and so have the calls. There has been a surge in the number of calls in the last three weeks. Most of the calls are from patients or their relatives seeking advice from doctors or enquiring about ambulances.

“Currently, we get 80-90 calls daily compared to the 40-50 calls in the last three months. Most of the callers seek advice on what to do if their close ones show corona-like symptoms, whether Covid beds are available, where to take vaccines, which is the nearest centre for vaccination and the procedure for home isolation,” a doctor revealed. This is typically the scenario in other ward war rooms too.

The doctor further said most of the calls were related to availability of Covid beds at the nearest hospital. Last year, most of the calls were received in May and June and now, for the last one month, the lines have been buzzing again.

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Free Press Journal