Families demand help from PCMC to search for beds for home-isolated patients in case of severe symptoms

The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation has set up a call centre, the work for which has been outsourced.

With Covid-19 cases surging in Pimpri-Chinchwad, 70 to 80 per cent of asymptomatic persons or those with mild symptoms continue to be in home isolation. Families of such patients have demanded that the PCMC should help them with hospital admissions in case they develop severe symptoms. The civic body has said it was closely monitoring all home-isolated patients by making at least one phone call every day. By Thursday evening, Pimpri-Chinchwad had 15,348 patients in home isolation.

“Every day, we are making one call to patients to get an update… We will make the call till the 14-day isolation period is over,” said PCMC health chief Dr Anil Roy on Friday.

The PCMC has set up a call centre, the work for which has been outsourced. “As of now, we are making 10,000 calls a day to patients. It will go up as the patient count increases. In the next two to three days, we should be making 15,000 calls a day if the number remains around that figure,” Dr Roy said.

But families of home-isolated patients have to be alert if their symptoms suddenly take a turn for the worse. In such cases, families have to start searching for an oxygen or ventilator bed as per oxygen saturation levels or overall condition of the patient.

“Our job is get an update from patients and guide and counsel them through a team of doctors. In case the patient’s condition deteriorates, their families will have to search for the hospital bed. We have provided two helpline numbers where we give information regarding beds available at civic and private hospitals. The helpline numbers are 020-67331151 and 020-67331152,” he said.

Families, however, are saying if a patient is in home isolation, the concerned hospital or the PCMC should take responsibility of admitting the patient in case they develop severe symptoms. “If the concerned hospital or the PCMC cannot take the responsibility, then at least they should give proper guidance till the patient finds a bed. Many times, the helpline number is busy or they simply provide the number of hospitals and hang up. If we call the hospitals, they say they have no beds,” said Dhanashree Patil, a resident of Gurav Pimple, whose condition worsened after six days of home isolation.

“My family searched for a bed the entire day. Even my office people searched for a bed but without luck. It was only 24 hours later, through an acquaintance, I got a bed at Auto Cluster facility. By that time, my oxygen saturation level had dipped to 75 per cent and I was diagnosed as a critical patient,” said Patil, who has since recovered from Covid-19.

The family of Shrikant Gaikwad of Kasarwadi also had to make tremendous efforts to find a bed after his condition deteriorated after two days of home isolation. “It is not an easy task to find a bed if a patient in home isolation worsens. The PCMC making a call per day is fine. But it should also extend a helping hand when it comes to hospitalisation of a patient in home isolation,” said his brother Shridhar Gaikwad. Shrikant died a few days after being admitted.

The PCMC administration has moved a proposal before the civic standing committee for an Rs 2.34 crore to be spent on the call centre setup for patients in home isolation. According to the proposal, the PCMC will incur an expenditure of Rs 13 per patient. The work has been allotted to a private party for a period of three months.

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In another decision, the PCMC has set up a crematorium coordination helpline for families who need to cremate Covid-19 patients. It will be a 24-hour facility on 020-67331155.

“The objective behind the move is to reduce the waiting period for performing funeral rites,” said civic officials.

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