ITBP COVID centre with 500 oxygen-beds starts in Delhi; 123 admitted so far



NEW DELHI: A COVID care centre with 500 oxygen-supported beds run by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) began functioning in Delhi from Monday with the admission of 123 patients, officials said.

The facility named Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel COVID Care Centre (SPCCC) has been opened in view of Delhi registering a sharp rise in coronavirus cases, shortage of oxygen beds and its healthcare system creaking under the pressure.

The facility is located at the Radha Soami Beas campus in Chhattarpur area of south Delhi.

The border guarding force has been designated by the Union Home Ministry as the nodal agency to run it.

“The SPCCC has started functioning. 123 patients have been admitted on Monday,” ITBP spokesperson Vivek Kumar Pandey said.

According to the laid out procedure, there will be no walk-in admissions to the centre.

Admission at this centre will be made after approval by district surveillance officers in Delhi.

The ITBP has said that treatment at this centre will be free of cost.

Officials and eyewitnesses said a number of patients whose oxygen levels were fluctuating had voluntarily queued up outside the facility in hope of getting admission.

“The standard operating procedure says only DSOs can approve the admissions at this centre. This is a cumbersome step for a patient who is gasping for breath. The admissions should be done like in normal hospitals after ascertaining the patient’s condition,” a volunteer coordinating admission for COVID patients in Delhi, including at this centre, said.

ITBP Deputy Inspector General (DIG) D K Goyal told reporters at the facility that the SOPs state that patients whose oxygen saturation level is 85 or above will be admitted to the facility as it a COVID care centre and not a hospital.

Another official manning the SPCCC said admitted patients who require intensive or better medical care will be referred to the GTB and Safdarjung hospitals from here.

Officials said the SPCCC at present only had oxygen beds and no ICU and ventilator facilities.

Videos and photos provided by the force showed ambulances bringing in patients who were admitted after preliminary checkup conducted by ITBP doctors and paramedical staff under a tented canopy in the porch.

Earlier in the day, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal visited the facility and thanked the Union government for providing doctors and medical staff at the centre.

He said 200 ICU beds will also be arranged at the facility.

The helpline numbers of SPCCC are 011-26655547/48/49 and 011-26655949/69.

According to an official, patient’s details like age, address, contact number, oxygen level, pulse and comorbid conditions will be obtained and after assessment by a team of doctors, those eligible to get admitted will be communicated through their contact number.

He said the DSOs will also be empowered to recommend patients to the SPCCC.

A team of 50 ITBP and other organisations’ doctors, about 80 paramedics and nursing staff, security personnel of the border guarding force and other administrative staff have been tasked to run the centre that is expected to add more beds in the coming days.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had declared on April 22 that the SPCCC, which was made operational in July last year and shut in February this year as coronavirus infections declined in the national capital, was being restarted on the Delhi government’s request as the cases were rising rapidly once again.

A total of 11,657 COVID-19 patients were treated at this centre between July-February.

Delhi is currently facing an acute shortage of oxygen beds for serious COVID-19 patients and has almost run out of ICU facilities amid soaring infections.

It recorded 350 COVID-19 deaths and 22,933 cases with a positivity rate of 30.21 per cent on Sunday.

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