Goa to set up makeshift hospitals to reduce COVID-19 fatalities as cases shoot up

PANAJI: The Goa government has decided to set up some makeshift hospitals for the treatment of COVID-19 patients in a bid to reduce fatalities and facilitate early detection of the viral infection.

In the wake of a surge in COVID-19 cases in Goa, the bed capacity in state-run and private medical facilities is getting exhausted.

Talking to reporters here on Tuesday evening, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said two “Step Up” hospitals would be set up in the health centres at Chicalim and Cansualim in South Goa district.

The Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Stadium at Bambolim near Panaji, which is currently serving as a COVID-19 care facility, would also be upgraded as a “Step Up” hospital, he said.

These hospitals will have minimum amenities to treat COVID-19 patients, but will not have oxygen facility.

Sawant said deputy collectors and health officers concerned are directed to assess the situation and take the initiatives to set up such hospitals in every block.

The chief minister said doctors at the primary health centres and community health centres will come together to operate such facilities.

“The collectors and deputy collectors will arrange the logistics as well as ambulances and buses for the transportation of patients,” he said.

Sawant also said the state government has decided to consider journalists as frontline workers and vaccinate them against COVID-19.

“We will speak to journalist associations so that we can start vaccinating them,” he said.

On the opposition parties’ meeting on Tuesday to raise the demand for a 15-day lockdown, Sawant said they came together as they “want to play politics”.

“We are making all efforts towards COVID-19 management. People have to earn their livelihood and we can’t just ask them not to move out of their houses,” he said.

The chief minister also said the state government will provide the COVID-19 vaccines free of cost for people above the age of 18.

“We have been allotted 38,000 vaccine doses, but we want five lakh doses to vaccinate people in this group. Once we receive the doses, we will start the vaccination process at the panchayat level,” he said.

The state’s coronavirus caseload went up by 2,814 and reached 1,00,902 on Tuesday, while the day also saw 52 deaths and 1,870 people recovering, an official said.

The state’s toll is 1,372 and the recovery count stands at 72,799, leaving it with 26,731 active cases, he added.

With 6,552 samples being examined in the last 24 hours, the number of tests in Goa went up to 6,76,072, the official said.

Goa’s COVID-19 figures are as follows: Positive cases 1,00,902, new cases 2814, death toll 1,372, discharged 72,799, active cases 26,731, samples tested till date 6,76,072.