Sunday, September 26

Kolkata gets first safe house, another to open today

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KOLKATA: A ready-to-move-into high-rise at New Town, which was being used as government quarantine centre for the past three months, has started operating as full-fledged safe homes for mild or asymptomatic Covid patients from Sunday. In the evening, the NBCC Square had its first set of patients — a teenager, his mother and a middle-aged man — all residents of Behala. A second such centre, near Science City, will begin operations from Monday.

While the 11-storey NBCC Square, owned by the Union government and involved in project management consultancy, can host a 100-odd patients in 16 3BHK flats, the six-storey Pratidin Bhawan near Science City is being prepared to house another 150-odd patients from Monday.

The government on June 17 had announced opening 106 safe-home centres across the state. Till Sunday night, 166 people have gone into safe homes in different districts. Six more in Kolkata have been kept at a satellite facility — a 52-bed hotel — by Medica hospital.

“At present, there is no great requirement of quarantine centres as patients’ families are mostly being quarantined at home. Those coming from other states are also being asked to stay at home and those coming from abroad are asked to stay in hotel quarantine. Hence, a decision was taken to convert these quarantine centres into safe homes since they already have a set infrastructure ready with trained paramedics and housekeeping staff,” said a health department official.

The official said that while they are still promoting home isolation for mild and asymptomatic patients, the facilities will be exclusively for those patients whose homes are either too small for isolation or they have no one to look after them.

TOI visited the NBCC Square building at Anandakeshari crossing in New Town on Sunday afternoon to find health department and NKDA officials conducting last-minute sanitization.

“Rooms on the first two floors of the building have been kept for doctors, paramedics, cleaning staff, guards and civil defence personnel manning security of this facility. Sixteen rooms on the upper floors have been prepared for patients. Each room can house a maximum of seven patients, segregated properly. Separate rooms are also maintained for men and women. In due course, 300 more beds can be accommodated,” said an officer of Bidhannagar Commissionerate.

CMOH North 24 Parganas Tapan Saha, under whose supervision the conversion is underway, said arrangements for preliminary medical treatment will be available at the centre. But if a patient’s condition deteriorates, s/he will be removed to a hospital.

Health department officials said, similar arrangements have been made at Pratidin Bhawan, where it is like a dormitory and can house a larger number of patients. “We are following all quarantine protocols and are ensuring proper food and medication,” said a health department official.

(With inputs from Mayukh Sengupta)

Source:Times of India

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