Mumbai preps for third wave: Pediatric COVID centres, 6,500 oxygen beds, 1,500 ICU beds to be set up

Aaditya stated that as the virus mutates and targets different age groups, the response to it should also evolve

FP Staff May 04, 2021 13:29:14 IST
Mumbai preps for third wave: Pediatric COVID centres, 6,500 oxygen beds, 1,500 ICU beds to be set up

File image of Aaditya Thackeray. PTI

As Maharashtra continues to battle the second wave of the COVID-19 , state minister Aaditya Thackeray has suggested establishing a pediatric COVID care ward and a creche network in Mumbai before the third wave hits.

Aaditya said he met Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Additional Municipal Commissioner (AMC) Sanjeev Jaiswal and discussed the measures taken to prepare for the third wave.

"Along with the paediatric covid care centre, another aspect we are now focussed on is to create a network of crèches for those parents who may have to be in COVID care centres and may not have support to look after their children, who aren’t infected by COVID," Aaditya said in series of tweets.

BMC officials told The Indian Express that a dedicated pediatric COVID ward for children below the age of 12 years is likely to be set up at the NESCO Jumbo Covid Centre in Goregaon East in the next two months. Officials told the newspaper that the pediatric COVID ward, likely to be the first such facility in the country, will have about 700 beds, of which 300 will be for pediatric care. There will also be beds for mothers whose children are undergoing treatment there as well as intensive care facilities, the report said.

This comes as experts warn that the third wave is likely to hit children and on the same day that daily COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra dropped below 50,000 for the first time in 30 days.

"Third wave could be more serious for children from 0 to 18 years of age. The 0-18 age group consists of 30 percent of total population of India and herd immunity is impossible without vaccinating such a major part,” paediatrician and vice-president of Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC) Dr Vinky Rughwani told The Times of India. Rughwani said that children in the 6-12 age group could be vulnerable.

Aaditya stated that as the virus mutates and targets different age groups, the response to it should also evolve. "Since last year, our jumbo COVID care centres also have units of covid positive dialysis, COVID positive maternity care as well," he said.

Aditya further said that more than 6,500 oxygen beds and approximately 1500 more ICU/ HDU beds will be added in the next few days at the new Jumbo COVID centres coming up in the financial capital.

The minister said that he, along with Mumbai mayor Kishori Pednekar, guardian minister Aslam Shaikh, is committed to building capacity while ensuring the safety of citizens with measures for COVID appropriate behaviour.

On Monday, Mumbai witnessed just 2,662 cases, the lowest in a month. However, only 23,542 tests conducted in the city as compared to 37,607 on 1 May, as per Free Press Journal.

Between April 26 till 3 May, the test counting rate ranged mostly between 30,000 to 45,000, as per the report.

Mumbai's BMC has drawn praise from Dr Shashank Joshi, a member of Maharashtra’s COVID Task Force, for not dismantling the COVID-19 centres, as per Indian Express.

“Couple of things worked for Mumbai. BMC did not dismantle makeshift jumbo facilities like BKC. When the tsunami (second wave) hit us, it changed its geographical location. The first wave came from the slum population, now it is predominantly coming from high-rises and housing societies. Now, demand for treatment in private hospitals has increased,” he added.

“Around the first week of April, we were facing a similar situation as Delhi is currently witnessing. But what BMC did was it rapidly ramped up the beds… it added 3,000 beds in a few days, easing the pressure on the existing private healthcare care sector,” Joshi. told the newspaper.

Last week, after participating in a review meeting with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Health Minister Rajesh Tope had said that as per epidemiologists, Maharashtra could witness a third wave of COVID-19 in July or August.

"Maharashtra is trying to be self-sufficient in terms of availability of medical oxygen by then. It has been said the state could reach the plateau level of COVID-19 cases by the end of May. If it is hit by a third wave in July or August, it would increase the challenges before the state administration," he had said.

On the eve of Maharashtra's Foundation Day, the chief minister had also said that the state government is gearing up to tackle the third wave. Thackeray had said that a stricter lockdown may not be needed in the state as the latest restrictions had helped contain the daily spike in coronavirus cases.

With inputs from PTI

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