Coronavirus in Chandigarh: How people in UT came together to make Mini COVID Care Centres a success

Coronavirus in India: Mini COVID Care Centres were set up after hospitals in the city could not accommodate more COVID-19 patients by the third week of April.

Dr Syal added that the patients were happy and comfortable during their time at the centre. (Representational image: PTI)

COVID-19 centres in Chandigarh: During the severe second wave of coronavirus in India, an NGO in the UT of Chandigarh came up with a model that seemed to have worked quite well for the city. According to a report in IE, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Sewa Society began setting up a mini COVID Care Centre in Sector 23’s Bal Bhawan on May 1, and the centre was set up within a span of two days. The COVID centre had 50 beds, and was also equipped with a piped oxygen facility. The requirement of the city was such that the centre was full of COVID-19 patients the next day itself. So far, the report stated, the centre has treated over 250 patients and has not reported any mortality. Moreover, now, the centre only has 12 coronavirus patients.

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The report further stated that the Society’s volunteers set up as many as eight dormitories, all having oxygen, TV sets, exhaust fans, coolers, medicines and medical equipment, so that the treatment of mild as well as asymptomatic patients of COVID-19 could be adequately taken up. They also got on board doctors and nurses, along with cleaners and technicians.

Society executive member and social worker Harjit Singh Sabharwal was cited by the report as saying that in a crisis, when everything else failed, it was the common people who came up to help.

The report also cited cardiologist Dr Karandeep Singh Syal as saying that many people would come into the centre to find out what the centre needed, with a woman taking up the responsibility of bringing home-made soup and salad for patients as well as staff members at the centre. Meanwhile, the Gurdwara in Sector 8 used to send fresh lunch and dinner to them, and some other people helped by volunteering breakfast, water and time. Dr Syal added that the patients were happy and comfortable during their time at the centre, and some of them even wanted to stay longer than they needed to because they had found friends among other patients.

The centre also set up a help desk where gynaecologist Dr Harpreet Kaur worked on relaying to the relatives of patients information about their progress, their tests, injections, CT scans and consultations, etc. The centre, Dr Kaur said, tried to maintain a positive and happy environment so that the patients could smoothly spend their time at the COVID care unit.

Now, with the number of patients at the centre steadily declining now, the Society would be closing the centre temporarily at the end of June, but would continue to maintain it in case it is required for any future use.

The Mini COVID Care Centre was set up after hospitals in the city could not accommodate more COVID-19 patients by the third week of April. This caused the UT administration to ask residents to set up voluntary Mini COVID care centres to look after mild and asymptomatic patients and their needs, the building structures and doctors for which were provided by the administration. On the other hand, the volunteers were tasked with the responsibility of making all other arrangements and of shifting any patients to hospitals if needed. This led to a whopping seven mini centres to come up in the city, all of them providing a total of 300 beds, without charging anything for their services.

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