Punjab govt activates ICUs, HDUs and Expo facilities for Covid patients

Published December 5, 2020
In this file photo, women wearing facemasks walk on a street. — AFP
In this file photo, women wearing facemasks walk on a street. — AFP

LAHORE: After a gap of five months or so, the Punjab government issued directions to make operational intensive care units (ICUs) and high dependency units (HDUs) of three teaching hospitals of the city and the Expo Centre Lahore to admit serious patients of Covid-19.

A high alert has been issued to the hospitals following a rapid increase in the number of critical patients and rising trend in death rate in Punjab.

The Expo Centre, Lahore, was being re-activated for Covid-19 management after it was ‘closed down’ in July when the Punjab government enforced home isolation policy.

Similarly, after a delay of months, the government allowed three public teaching hospitals of the city to make operational HDUs and ICUs to admit critical patients of the virus.

A notification was issued in this respect on Friday by the specialized healthcare and medical education department of Punjab to the heads of Lahore General Hospital, Services and Jinnah Hospital.

The notification orders the hospitals to operationalize the HDUs/ICUs at the same level as these were in the month of June.

The chief executive officer of the Mayo Hospital was told to operationalise the Hall No 2 of Expo Centre, Lahore, to start admission of the serious patients of the infection.

Meanwhile, the Punjab government decided to curtail the surgeries/operations in the state-run hospitals of the province in order to spare the teaching faculty for treatment of the Covid-19 patients only. The government sought Corona Experts Advisory Group (CEAG) recommendations on the matter, says the notification.

It stated that further directions to heads of the teaching hospitals would be issued in the light of the recommendations of the CEAG Punjab.

“We have fully activated 300-bed HDU at the Expo Centre by making operational the central oxygen supply system to start admission of the patients in the facility with complaints of low saturation level,” Mayo Hospital chief Prof Dr Asad Aslam Khan told Dawn.

Mr Asad, who is also supervisor of the Expo Centre, showed his serious concerns over the fast spread of the virus, saying a high alert has been generated to face the new challenge when the number of critical patients of the infection and deaths increased manifold.

He said the Expo Centre had been made fully functional as standby arrangements and will start admission after no space is available at the teaching hospitals of the city.

“We have spared a team of dedicated doctors, nurses, paramedics besides installing an X-Ray machine at the Expo Centre,” Dr Aslam said.

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Secretary Jawad Rafique Malik and Punjab Health Minister Prof Dr Yasmeen Rashid on Friday reviewed the coronavirus situation in Lahore at a meeting.

Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Momin Agha, secretaries of both health departments and the officers concerned attended the meeting.

The meeting reviewed the situation regarding the fast increase in the number of coronavirus cases in Lahore and issued orders to expand the health care services for Covid-19 critical patients.

On the occasion, CEAG Co-Chairman Dr Aslam Khan briefed the meeting that the number of Covid-19 patients in Lahore has increased rapidly and the rate of positive cases in the city has jumped from three percent to 10 percent during the last one week. He said the total number of serious patients admitted in the city hospitals is 396 while the number of critical patients is 152.

He said the number of beds available for serious patients in government hospitals in Lahore is 538 out of which 47 percent have been occupied.

Nabil Awan told the meeting that after the rapid increase in the number of coronavirus patients, the health department has issued written directions to medical superintendents of Services, Jinnah and Lahore General hospitals to operationalize the HDUs and ICUs at the same emergency level as these were functioning in June 2020.

On the other hand, 24 more patients died from the virus in a day in Punjab, taking the death toll to 3,115.

Similarly, the 670 more people tested positive for the virus during the same period in Punjab.

Most of them 301 were reported from the provincial capital Lahore, according to the official figures released on Friday.

The total number of confirmed cases of the virus in Punjab is 121, 753 so far.

Published in Dawn, December 5th, 2020

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