With Kerala witnessing a steady spike in COVID-19 cases, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Saturday that the state is sitting on top of a volcano. Speaking to the media, CM once again reminded people to remain cautious but not to get panicked. He also appealed to citizens to postpone all non-essential events, maintain physical distancing and use face masks.
Owing to the rise in cases, the Chief Minister has asked the private hospitals in the state to spare 25% of beds exclusively for COVID-19 care. He told the media that the private sector had promised to cooperate with the government in tackling the present COVID 19 situation. The Kerala government will be releasing occupancy data of hospital beds, ICUs, and ventilators to respective District Medical Officers, which would be uploaded onto the e-Jagratha portal for the public to view.
At present, in Kerala, COVID-19 care is free in public hospitals and is available at subsidised rates in private hospitals empanelled at Karunya Arogya Suraksha Padhathi (KASP). For hospitals empanelled under KASP, the government has said that it would reimburse a fixed rate after a patient got discharged from there. The Chief Minister asked more private hospitals to join the panel.
Since the number of cases has been increasing daily, the government has decided to increase the number of beds in Thiruvananthapuram medical college hospital (MCH). The District Collector, Navjot Khosa, has directed to increase 1,400 more beds for critical COVID-19 patients by April 30. For the last few days, Thiruvananthapuram has been reporting more than 2,200 cases daily.
Some restrictions were also brought in Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital in non-COVID 19-related treatments. Non-emergency surgeries and treatments of patients will be postponed at the hospital. The district administration has asked the MCH to ensure a minimum of 250 ICU beds and 100 ventilators for COVID-19 patients alone. Moreover, only 200 out-patients will be allowed to consult daily at each department in MCH. It was also informed that patient's attendees or caretakers who don't follow COVID-19 protocol will be asked to go out.