In its affidavit filed before the Gujarat High Court in the suo motu matter on the COVID-19 surge, the Gujarat government has averred that RT-PCR testing facilities are available in every district in the State.
The affidavit was filed in response to the High Court’s order passed on April 15, which flagged a number of concerns pertaining to the management of the rise in COVID-19 cases in the State.
The document details the measures taken by the State government with respect to testing facilities and availability of Remdesivir, hospital beds and oxygen supply in the State.
The following are the initiatives taken by the government to battle the pandemic.
COVID-19 testing facilities
- Health and Family Welfare Department has requested all private laboratories to enhance their testing capacity.
- Government and Corporations have been lending their staff to private laboratories to enable them to maximize the output and reduce the time lag in delivering reports.
- State government has developed a state-wide network of testing centres for COVID-19. As on date, total 98 COVID testing laboratories are functioning, out of which 43 are government and 55 are private laboratories.
- At present every district in the state has RT-PCR testing facilities, either through RT-PCR machines, or TrueNAT and CBNAT machines.
- 26 research laboratories working under different Universities across the state have been requested for carrying out testing of COVID-19
- State government has ensured that samples are collected across the state from every taluka, municipality through community health centres and primary health centres. No village in the state is deprived of COVID-19 RT-PCR testing.
- RT-PCR testing is already available in the tribal districts of Dahod, Banaskantha, Sabarkantha, Bharuch, Surat and Valsad. Other tribal districts of Navsari, Dang, Tapi, Narmada, Chhotaudepur, Panchmahal, Mahisagar and Arvalli, also have RT-PCR testing facilities, where TruNAT and CBNAT are employed.
- As on April 18, 1, 73,000 tests are carried out on a daily basis. Between April 1 and 18, 24, 69,625 tests have been carried out across the state of which 9, 70,236 are RTPCR tests.
- State government is ready to consider the setting up of more laboratories with RT-PCR machines on a public private partnership mode.
- Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has initiated “Drive-Through Testing” at GMDC ground from April 14, where people can drive into a special RT-PCR testing centre for giving their nasal and throat swab samples without stepping out of their vehicle.
- Guidelines issued by ICMR and WHO on when to use Remdesivir have been collated and duly published in all daily newspapers on April 19.
- As on date, on an average, the state government is managing to procure a daily stock of approximately 20,000 vials of 100ml Remdesivir injection. The State government is taking every possible proactive steps to procure from any and every source
- State government has taken serious actions against the hoarders, black marketers of this injection
Availability of hospital beds
- As on April 18, there are 79,444 beds are available for COVID-19 patients in different 1,590 institutes in entire state. 1 lakh beds will be available by April 30.
- A fully equipped, dedicated Covid Care Hospital, of 900 beds with oxygen facilities, is being established at University Convention Centre, GMDC, and Ahmedabad on April 25.
- As on April 18, 84% beds in Private Hospitals, 85% beds in Government Hospitals , 60% beds in Dedicate COVID Health Centres (DCHC) and 1l9% beds in COVID Care Centres (CCC) are occupied
Availability of Oxygen
- Considering the emergent demand for oxygen in the four districts of Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Surat and Vadodra, the entire production of oxygen, estimated at 482 rnetric tons, is being employed for hospitals and healthcare sector.
- State government sought permission from the Government of India for 16 pressure swing adsorption (PSA) plants to be installed in hospitals. With PSA technology, hospitals captively generate oxygen from the atmosphere. These plants make the hospital completely self-sufficient and hospitals do not depend on any external supply of oxygen
- In order to enhance medical oxygen supply,oxygen dependent industries have been asked to stop all production completely. Nearly 2,000 industrial oxygen cylinders have been procured from these industries
- Medical oxygen carrying vehicles have also been given a special status of that of an ambulance to enable expeditious transportation.
On the last date of hearing, the Court had asked the Gujarat government not to be “shy” of revealing data regarding the number of cases in the State, number of deaths, availability of hospital beds, etc.
To address this concern, the government has submitted that it has developed a dashboard at https://guicovidlg.guiarat.qov.in. On this portal, a daily report card of COVID-19 cases is updated every day in the evening. The daily data of district wise active cases, recovered cases, deaths, new cases, total tests done and persons under quarantine are displayed.
These details will be updated on the dashboard once in a day, while details of bed availability will be updated twice a day.
The government has also informed the Court of the measures it is taking to be prepared for future challenges arising out of the pandemic:
- All private hospitals/nursing homes/clinics having sufficient infrastructure, are allowed to treat COVID-19 patients in all districts/corporations as COVID hospital, COVID health centre or COVID care centre. Municipal Commissioners and Collectors are empowered to take over any hospital if need arises.
- AMC has designated 161 private hospitals (10 more since the last affidavit filed) as COVID hospitals, 130 DCHC and 11 government hospitals for meting out treatment to Covid patients. 297 COVID Care Centres across the state have been initiated in hostels, hotels, community halls, in which asymptomatic or mild symptomatic patients are treated.
- 8 IAS officers have been deployed to monitor the upgradation of COVID Care Centres and other institutes in the corporation area.
- Municipal corporations of Vadodara and Gandhinagar have developed a dashboard on their website, which gives real time availability of vacant and occupied isolation beds, ICU beds and Oxygen beds. Bhavnagar Corporation updates the portal once a day, while the website of Ahmedabad Hospital and Nursing Association provides the details of various beds once a day
The affidavit concludes by stating,
“…it is respectfully submitted that the Government of Gujarat is making all efforts and is leaving no stone unturned to win this battle against the pandemic of COVID- 19. The Government is conscious that this battle cannot be fought without the confidence and cooperation of the public at large and therefore, all measures are being undertaken and implemented in a systematic and organized manner.”