Home States Medical NewsMaharashtra BMC will decide on closing jumbo Covid facilities by next week

BMC will decide on closing jumbo Covid facilities by next week

by Vaishali Sharma

With daily Covid-19 cases in Mumbai ranging from 100 to 200 and hospital occupancy at a low, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is likely to decide to close some of the city’s big Covid facilities. Three major facilities will be kept, according to sources: Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), Byculla (Richardson and Cruddas), and Worli (NSCI), as well as the Seven Hills Hospital in Marol, which will continue to operate as an exclusive Covid centre.

Other makeshift jumbo centres at Dahisar, Goregaon, Malad, Sion and Kanjurmarg are likely to be dismantled. However, a final decision is expected by next week.

Additional municipal commissioner Suresh Kakani told HT that the civic body will consult the state Covid-19 task force before finalising the decision to completely shut down any of the centres. “The daily occupancy in many of these centres has been in a single-digit since the past few days. While we will ensure that we are prepared for any newer threat, we will take the decision to shut down some of the jumbo centres completely,” he said.

On Thursday, only 739 (3.28 percent) out of the 22,467 hospitals beds, which includes beds in jumbo facilities, were occupied.  Last month, during the peak of the third wave, the hospital occupancy had touched 20 percent. For instance, on January 4, 4,421 of the 22,205 beds in the city were occupied by Covid-19 patients.

The city has a total of nine mega centres. While eight of these centres were erected on open grounds and are considered temporary, the Seven Hills facility was established in an already existing hospital.

The employees at the large facilities were employed on 60 or 90-day contracts. Each jumbo centre has its own set of contract terms and restrictions. Some centres featured a condition that said that the contract may be terminated within 24 hours, while others stated that a week’s notice was required.

In December, before the third wave kicked in, some of the jumbo centres reactivated their wards in phases and hired a limited number of medical, paramedical, housekeeping and other staff.

Altogether, the jumbo centres have over 15,000 Covid beds. The facilities in Malad, Kanjurmarg and Sion were the most recent additions and have been built by MMRDA, CIDCO and MHADA, respectively. A few beds in Malad and Kanjurmarg were commissioned during the third wave but their overall occupancy has been very low.

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