COVID-19 impact: Pune district administration gears up to combat coronavirus

Chaitraly Deshmukh
Saturday, 27 June 2020

Several measures are being taken to keep a check on cases in both Pune district and its periphery. However, the administration is now gearing up to fight the virus on a much larger scale.

Pune: Day after day, Pune has witnessed a steep rise with the increasing COVID-19 cases. And even after 100 days of the pandemic, the graph refuses to show any signs of going down. In Pune district itself, the number of reported COVID-19 cases has now crossed the 20,000-mark.

After reporting the first patient on March 9 this year, the administration in the district was alerted. While the number of cases kept increasing in the city, there were only 20 cases reported in the rural areas until April 16. However, after the relaxation of the lockdown on May 3 and 17, people migrated to rural areas from Mumbai and Pune. This contributed to an increase in the number of patients in those areas as well.

Considering the situation in rural areas, various measures were taken apart from keeping these areas restricted. The administration also prohibited entries and prepared containment areas to ensure that the outbreak was controlled.

Under the guidance of the Pune District Collector Naval Kishore Ram, the Chief Executive Officer of Zilla Parishad Ayush Prasad, District Health Officer Dr Bhagwan Pawar and District Surgeon Ashok Nandapurkar conducted surveys on a daily basis. With the help of Asha workers, they started visiting around 50 home along with volunteers.

Registration and follow-ups for suspected patients also began after visiting private hospitals via medical officers. Special attention was paid to persons travelling from other places, including those from abroad and from the Red Zone. Regular surveys are being conducted on all persons with high risk and peers. A special survey of senior citizens and pregnant mothers is also being ensured.

Health check posts have been set up at 20 places along the district boundaries, and every person under inspection has been recorded in the register. So far, 20 lakh people have been examined. More than 37,000 calls have been made for corona-coordination through the Corona Special Control Room. There were a total of 811 patients in rural Pune till June 26, out of which 508 were cured and 270 are active.

Pune now has a recovery rate of 62.63 per cent in rural areas and a mortality rate of 4.06 per cent. A survey has been conducted for 9.35 lakh families in the district. The number of patients referred to was 696. High-risk individuals were sealed and quarantined at home. Special attention was paid to the quarantined persons through Asha workers and Gram Panchayat members.

Out of the total 306 preventive areas in Pune rural district, 173 areas were successfully evacuated and cleared from the virus reach. 3,055 squads are operating in the remaining 133 active areas, a team is also surveying 50 to 100 houses every day and so far 11,43,215 citizens have been surveyed.

The survey conducted in 141 affected gram panchayats and 11 affected municipalities had 2,699 high-risk contacts and 4914 low-risk contacts. Each team has a thermal gun and a pulse oximeter to examine the residents. People with symptoms are examined by a medical officer. The survey lasts for 14 days after the last patient is found. A total of 345 cases of contact with infected patients have been detected with the help of this survey initiative. In the co-morbid survey, 6.29 lakh people above 60 years of age and 2.9 lakh persons with other diseases have been found in rural areas.

Dedicated COVID hospitals, of which five are operational with 1,130 beds, 117 ICU beds, 32 ventilators and 496 oxygen beds are available. There are 19 dedicated COVID health centres in operation with 1,054 beds, 124 ICU beds, 36 ventilators and 293 oxygen beds.

48 COVID-19 care centres have been set up in rural areas with 9,399 beds available. Thus, a total of 72 hospitals are managed and 11 thousand 583 beds are currently available. Along with this, a total of 241 ICUs, 68 ventilators and 789 oxygen beds are available.

Wipro, who converted their office to a COVID-19 health centre was commissioned through Pune Zilla Parishad, District Health Society, National Health Mission. The handover ceremony was held on June 11 under the patronage of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. The centre has 504 beds, 10 ICU beds and 5 ventilators dedicated to COVID-19 patients.

The COVID-19 care centre dedicated at Mhalunge has also been set up by authority and has a capacity of 1,400 beds. There is a separate arrangement for suspected and infected patients. There is an independent facility set up in an MHADA building as well.

Future planning has been done for COVID-19 patients who are currently residing in rural Pune areas. Because of the growing number of cases in the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) area, it is necessary to set up a Taluka level COVID-19 care centre (CCC) to treat patients from rural areas outside the periphery of Pune city.

The affected patient should be admitted to the nearest COVID-19 hospital for treatment, following the revised guidelines from the Central Government and the State Government. At present Wipro Hospital (504 beds, 10 ICU beds), Navale Hospital (100 beds, 20 ICU beds) have dedicated COVID-19 treatment centres. However, more than 100 beds need to be set up at Navale Hospital.

Considering the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, a dedicated 50 beds COVID-19 hospital will have to be set up at Baramati, Manchar and Bhor sub-district hospitals, which will help reduce the stress on the administration. There is also an urgent need to provide 100 more beds for rural patients in the District Hospital at Aundh. A total of Rs 65.78 crore has been provided to the Sassoon Hospital, Rural Hospital, District Surgeon, District Health Officer for taking necessary measures for COVID-19 prevention from the District Annual Plan.

In addition to the treatment of COVID-19 patients, information-education-communication initiatives are also being used. Out of these 2,700 banners and 14,336 posters were published. Six lakh brochures were also distributed along with broadcasting video films and audio clips on social media. It was also promoted through LED vehicles.

A web portal dedicated to Integrated Disease Surveillance Program (IDSP) has been working for the entire district since March 12 on behalf of Pune Zilla Parishad in collaboration with Maharashtra Knowledge Corporation (MKCL). A team of 68 controlled officers from the district are making effective use of this web portal. More than 1,094 doctors have been registered and home quarantine of more than 1.43 Lakh citizens has been successfully managed.
The lockdown under 'Mission Begin Again' is slowly being lifted. However, the threat of the COVID-19 is far from over and citizens need to keep in mind the measures that are required to prevent the spread. Preventing COVID-19 infection is not difficult, however, it requires immense personal care and attention.

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