The medical facilities at Kasaragod, the northernmost district in Kerala, had come under much criticism after the issues of patients depending on hospitals in Mangalore and other neighbouring towns in Karnataka, had come to the fore following Karnataka closing its borders denying the entry even for ambulances which carry critically ill patients from Kerala.
However, soon after the influx of COVID-19 cases in Kasaragod, the state government had decided to transform the Kasaragod Medical College hospital which is under construction to a COVID-19 specialty hospital. Isolation wards with about 200 beds and 20 intensive care units (ICU) have been set up in the hospital within four days.
Even though the construction is not yet completed, the administrative block which was supposed to host an outpatient wing has been completed. Health Minister KK Shailaja was scheduled to inaugurate this wing on March 15 but was postponed due to the virus outbreak. Now, this particular block of the Medical College has been converted to deal with COVID-19 patients.
On Sunday morning, a medical team of 25 members from Thiruvananthapuram Medical College headed to Kasaragod which has reported the highest number of cases in the state, in order to tackle the shortage of medical staff there. As of Sunday, 119 people are under treatment for COVID-19 in Kasaragod district alone.
“The medical team and the district administration in Kasaragod are doing a great work tackling the pandemic. But there is a shortage of human resources and other staff under the present circumstances, as more cases are being reported there. I am happy to see that the medical team from Thiruvananthapuram has volunteered to go and help them,” KK Shailaja said on Sunday, while addressing the medical team.
Of 314 cases that have been reported from Kerala, 56 people, including foreign nationals, have been cured so far. Brian Lockwood, a 57-year-old British national, who was under treatment and recovered later, said the treatment he received was ‘world-class’.
Brian was tested positive for COVID-19 during his visit to the state. After testing positive, he was immediately shifted to Kalamassery Medical College hospital in Ernakulam.
In an interview with India Today, describing his experiences, Brian said, “My wife and I were separated from each other and tested for C19. We both had x-rays done which showed I had pneumonia. Dr Fathahudeen and Dr Jacob and their team quickly started treating me and gave me the option of anti-HIV drugs and other antivirals. Their care and professionalism meant I was comfortable to agree to the treatment. My pneumonia worsened for a time so I was put on a ventilator which really helped my recovery.”
He also praised the available facilities and said that regular disinfection was carried out in the isolation ward. He also said that the medical staff were properly equipped with PPE.
On Sunday, eight more COVID-19 positive cases were reported from Kerala on Sunday, four of whom were Tablighi Jamat returnees and six people were cured of the infection, Health Minister K K Shailaja said. With this, the total number of affected people under treatment in the state has gone up to 256, she said.
"Out of the eight cases, five are from Kozhikode, and one each from Pathanamthitta, Kannur and Kasaragod districts.
In Kozhikode, of the five cases, four had returned after participating in the religious congregation at Nizammuddin in New Delhi and one from Dubai, the minister said in a press release. As of date, 10 people who had returned from the Delhi congregation have tested positive.
A total of 1,58,617 people are under observation in the state, out of which 776 are in isolation wards in hospitals.
"A total of 2,221 cases have been registered today and 2,250 persons have been arrested. The department has seized 1,567 vehicles," the police department said in a release talking about lockdown violations.
(With Inputs from PTI)