Separate wards in Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital in view of virus’ new variant

120-bed facility, including a 50-bed ICU, to be set up

In view of the new variant of the virus identified in the U.K., exclusive wards will be established at all government medical college hospitals in the State, Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar said.

Till date, 13 U.K. returnees and 12 of their contacts have tested positive for the infection in the State. A 120-bed exclusive ward, which includes a 50-bed Intensive Care Unit, has been set up at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH) in the wake of the new COVID-19 strain identified in the U.K. A dedicated team of doctors and staff nurses will work at the ward.

He said the Department was monitoring returnees from the U.K., who had tested positive for the infection, as well as their contacts. A separate team with Health and Police Department personnel was monitoring the contacts of the patients, he said.

Virulence and impact

“We have sent the samples to the National Institute of Virology, Pune, for genomic analysis, to identify if it is the new variant. The result will be known in two days. We do not have new treatment protocols for the strain. There is no additional information on the virulence and impact of this variant. So, all patients are being fully monitored and are undergoing treatment as per the existing protocol. All of them are doing well,” he told reporters following an inspection at the RGGGH on Sunday.

He added that the e-pass system had enabled them to trace those who had arrived from the U.K., via direct flights, or had landed in airports in Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi, and reached the State via domestic flights or by road. “The tracing is almost complete and all of them are being monitored.”

On the vaccine, he said the Health Department had taken up preparatory works, in full swing, and was working on the cold chain, human resource and training of staff nurses.

The Minister said mini clinics were receiving good patronage, including in Chennai. Posting orders for 835 doctors would be issued this week, and the required number of staff nurses were also being recruited, he said.

The RGGGH has, so far, done 5 lakh RT-PCR tests. A total of 29,000 COVID-19 patients were treated at the hospital. The zero-delay ward had handled 10,000 patients. From just 10 beds for patients with COVID-19, the hospital currently has 1,600 beds, he said.

Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan was present during the inspection. Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine T. S. Selvavinayagam, Director of Medical Education R. Narayana Babu and RGGGH dean E. Theranirajan were present.

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