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Omicron Scare: Government increases stock of medical supplies to tackle potential surge in COVID cases


Omicron Scare: Government increases stock of medical supplies to tackle potential surge in COVID cases
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Amidst the ongoing Omicron scare in the state, the government has taken necessary steps to update the medical facilities, equipment, and requirements, which will have to be used in case of an emergency. As of now, the state has recorded a total of 10 Omicron cases and the number has not increased over the last three days, however, officials from the state health department have been vigilant regarding the same. Directives are also being followed as per central government’s guidelines.

While reviewing the response of all states, Union Health Secretary, Raj Bhushan, on Thursday, December 9, 2021, asked the state governments to improve the health infrastructure by updating the drugs, ventilators, and liquid medical oxygen. Instructions have been issued to ensure these are available in sufficient quantity and used when needed. Precautions are being taken and preparations are being made keeping the needs in mind, which increased significantly during the second COVID-19 wave in early 2020, whereby several people lost lives and many were admitted due to inadequate prepations.

As of now over 3.5 lakh beds have been kept ready in the state for COVID-19 isolation patients. Infrastructure improvements are being done across Covid Care facilities in Maharashtra. A report regarding the same has been published in the Hindustan Times, which quoted an official from the health department who said, “There are 4,39,733 isolation beds excluding ICUs, over 93,000 beds for suspected Covid cases, 1,33,898 oxygen beds, and nearly 39,000 ICU beds. We have 15,582 ventilators available with us. We also have an adequate quantity of PPE kits and N95 masks.” 

Health Ministry also issued a statement regarding the same which mentioned that the states need to ensure all health facilities are equipped with functional ventilators, PSA plants, oxygen concentrators and other equipment at the field level. Moreover, a list of eight critical drugs has been shared with the government to ensure stocks are updated.. These have been identified for the clinical treatment of Covid and were included in the guidelines shared in July 2021.

At the state level, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has also shared directives with district collectors and municipal commissioners to make necessary arrangements in improving the needed medical infrastructure. Respective civic bodies will have to keep a check on the availability of hospital beds, medical equipment, facilities, medicines, etc. Stocks of medicines like Remdesivir, Tocilizumab, Ivermectin, etc. will have to be maintained adequately to avoid issues. 

Currently, Maharashtra has a total of 366 PSA oxygen plants and 265 storage tanks. The plant has the capacity of 379 MT of oxygen and the storage tanks have a capacity to hold 3733.6 MT of liquid medical oxygen. 

So far, over 6.64 million COVID-19 cases have been reported in the state with more than 1.4 lakh deaths. Mumbai has reported more than 7.64 lakh COVID cases with over 16,000 deaths.

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