Hospitals in Ernakulam district, both in government and private sectors, will gradually attempt to open up to more non-COVID patients in the next few weeks.
In the past three weeks, the number of hospitalised COVID patients fell from 3,081 on May 23 to 1,581 on June 14. During the same time frame, the number of ICU admissions fell from 542 to 348.
According to a report by The Hindu, The Government Medical College Hospital (MCH), which had suspended all non-COVID services at the end of April, is likely to restart non-COVID departments by June 25, according to a release issued by the district administration last week. Since non-COVID treatment facilities are limited in the district, the MCH will be opened up on priority when cases fall further, said Dr. Mathews Numpeli, district programme manager, National Health Mission. It is likely to begin with outpatient departments first, and services will gradually be extended. Some ICU beds will be retained at the hospital for COVID patients.
Since a new treatment centre with oxygen beds has started functioning at the Samudrika Hall on Willingdon Island, efforts are on to reduce COVID admissions at the Fort Kochi Taluk Hospital and return to regular non-COVID treatment facilities at the hospital.
Beds at community health centres are being equipped with oxygen supply for emergencies and for people who arrive with post-COVID issues, Dr. Mathews said.
The bulk of resources in government and private sectors has been geared towards managing the COVID caseload in the district for nearly two months now. The Ernakulam General Hospital, which is handling both COVID and non-COVID cases, has seen an increasing number of non-COVID patients recently, a doctor at the hospital said. The hospital has a 100-bed COVID facility in a separate super-specialty block.
Non-COVID inpatient treatments at private hospitals continue to remain low, since people seem to be afraid to return for elective procedures, said Dr. T.V. Ravi, president, IMA Kochi chapter. Emergency non-COVID surgeries are still on, and hospitals are still retaining 50% of their beds for COVID treatment, he said.
Dr. Joseph Benaven, secretary, Kerala Private Hospitals Association, agreed that, while COVID cases were on the decline, non-COVID patient load had simultaneously been low. But facilities are freeing up, and some hospitals are in a comfortable position to gradually open up for elective procedures now, he added.