Pune: Army to provide 20 beds for civilian COVID-19 patients
Pune: Army to provide 20 beds for civilian COVID-19 patients

The Army authorities have agreed to allocate 20 beds at its health facility hereafter the Pune district administration wrote to them seeking beds for civilian COVID-19 patients in view of a surge in cases, officials said on Wednesday.

The Pune district administration sent an SOS to the Army authorities after the surge in cases led to an increase in the number of COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalisation.

District collector Rajesh Deshmukh wrote a letter to Major General Indrajeet Singh, the General-Officer-Commanding, Dakshin Maharashtra and Goa Subarea, and requested him to provide beds at the Army Institute of Cardio-Thoracic Sciences (AICTS) for treatment of civilian COVID-19 patients.

Senior district officials said the army has agreed to allocate 20 beds, including 10 equipped with ventilators, for COVID-19 patients from Thursday.

"We had a meeting with the Army officials concerned.

From tomorrow, they are making us available 20 beds, including 10 ICU/ventilator beds, for COVID-19 treatment for the general public," said Deshmukh.

Saurabh Rao, the divisional commissioner (Pune division), said last year also, the Army had allocated beds for non-military COVID-19 patients at the same facility.

"Last year, from July to September, the Army had provided medical facilities for civilians at the same hospital. When the cases started declining in November, we stopped using the facility at AICTS," said Rao.

Rao said since COVID-19 cases are rising once again in Pune, one of the 10 worst-hit districts in the country, there is a paucity of beds in hospitals, leading the administration to seek help from the Army.

Speaking about the COVID-19 situation in the district, the senior bureaucrat said as per a new assessment by the Maharashtra government, cases will peak in the city by April 20.

"Till April 20, we will see an upward trend in the number of (daily) cases. After April 20, the trend will stabilise for the next two weeks after that a decline will start and then the wave will subside," said Rao.

He said a similar trend was witnessed in Amravati and Nagpur districts two months ago.

"In Amravati, the positivity rate two months ago was 36 per cent. But in today's meeting, the collector of Amravati informed that the present positivity rate (number of cases reported among the total samples tested) is 9 per cent.

"So on that assessment, Pune is also heading towards a peak," he added.

Pune houses the headquarters of the Army's Southern Command and is home to large medical facilities run by the defence forces.

On Wednesday, the Pune division reported 12,772 fresh COVID-19 infections, including 5,637 in Pune city.

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