Pune: Punekars will get 'independence' from the shortage of hospital beds for critical COVID-19 patients on August 15 if the Pune District administration keeps up to its promise. Saurabh Rao, the Officer on Special Duty at Divisional Commissioner Office, on Thursday laid out the timeline for the construction of the 'jumbo facility' of an 800-bedded hospital at Balewadi.
Rao, while addressing media persons, said "We have published the notice for 'Expression of Interest' (EOI) for the creation of the jumbo facility at Balewadi. The Commissioner of Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA) will be in-charge of this project. We have set up an engineering committee, a medical committee and an administrative committee for expediting the process."
"The engineering committee will include the Commissioner of PMRDA, Chief Engineer of Public Works Department and other members. The medical committee will have Dean of Sassoon General Hospital, Chief Health Officers of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporations and other members. The administrative committee will be advisory in nature and will include the district administration officials, Rao said.
While giving out the timeline for completing the Balewadi hospital project, Rao said, "There will be 600 oxygenated beds and 200 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds at the facility. These are to be created immediately. We are expecting a response from agencies to the Expression of Interest notice in the next two to three days. We expect that the work order for this facility will be issued latest by July 28 or 29th. Similar to Mumbai, we will finish the work in 15 to 21 days. We plan to take possession of the facility by August 15 to 21.
Pune city alone has a total of 17053 active COVID-19 cases as of July 22 evening. Out of these active cases, 589 cases are such that the patient is in critical condition. The bed capacity augmentation is a big challenge for the district and civic administrations as patients and their relatives are finding it difficult to find vacant ventilators, oxygen and ICU beds in the private and civic hospitals of the city.