Bengal Plans Extra Covid Beds for Ladies Amid 3rd Wave Risk

The West Bengal government is planning to allot more hospital beds for women as it prepares to deal with the possible third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, a senior health official said on Sunday. The state is planning to reverse the gender ratio in the 26,000 COVID beds at state-run and private hospitals, Director of Health Services Ajay Chakraborty told PTI.

“The gender ratio for COVID-19 beds in West Bengal at present is around 60:40 for males. We are planning to reverse this by reducing the number of beds for male patients and increasing those for the females and make it 40:60,” he said. The plan is being formulated to cope up with a possible increase in the demand for beds for children during the third wave, Chakraborty said.

“The new COVID variant (Delta) is affecting all in a family. So, there will be high possibilities of children getting infected as well as their mothers. We have planned to keep them together even in case the mothers are negative or they have recovered,” he said. The government is consulting health experts to chalk out the plan, the official said.

“We have set a September deadline to be battle-ready for the possible third wave,” he added. “The admission rate of children was much less compared to the adults since the outbreak of the pandemic. But, it went up during the second wave and going by the warnings of the doctors and scientists, we presume that it will go up by two- fold in the coming months,” Chakraborty said.

In view of this, the state government has decided to reserve at least 5 per cent of the critical care unit beds and another 10 per cent of the high dependency unit (HDU) beds, he said. Chakraborty said the Health Department is planning to scale up paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) beds to 500 and HDU beds to 1,000.

Six new PICUs are being set up in Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar, North Dinajpur, Purulia, Rampurhat and Diamond Harbour, he said. For infants, aged below a month, the Health Department has decided to set up COVID beds at 68 special newborn care units (SNCUs) and newborn intensive care units (NICUs) in different parts of the state, he said.

The Health Department is also planning to procure paediatric oximeters and send paediatricians and nurses of the SNCUs and NICUs to different facilities to train healthcare workers, the official said.

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