Mysore/Mysuru: As most beds in the important hospitals are occupied or reserved for COVID-19 patients who are asymptomatic, the State Government plans to convert even hostels belonging to educational institutes and universities to treat not-so-critical patients at the temporary COVID Care Centres.
Taking facilities available in educational institutes is among the latest measures adopted by the Government, which is anticipating a steep rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in the State. The plan also ensures the designated hospitals are always available for critical patients and those suffering with comorbid conditions.
In Mysuru, Deputy Commissioner Abhiram G. Sankar has directed the University of Mysore and Karnataka State Open University (KSOU) to reserve their hostels to be converted into COVID Care Centres. Using hostels for this purpose is beneficial as at present colleges and Universities are closed and most of them have switched over to digital learning.
Also, the hostels have ready infrastructure including beds, rooms and toilets and there is no need for the Government to invest in new infrastructure. Additionally, the University of Mysore and KSOU are bounded by gates and have exclusive entry and exit points.
The DC has asked the Vice-Chancellors of University of Mysore and the KSOU to make way for quarantine centres in hostels. The newly built KSOU Academic Block near Mysore Airport at Mandakalli has already been converted into a 530-bed COVID Care Centre. Also, preparations are on to convert the Chamundi Vihar Stadium into an 800-bed care facility.
Speaking to Star of Mysore, University of Mysore Vice-Chancellor Dr. G. Hemantha Kumar said that he has received instructions from the DC to be ready with vacant hostels. All the hostels are vacant now and students are set to return only after the next academic year opens, which is uncertain now. “Students have locked their rooms and have gone home. We are discussing with wardens. Goutham Hostel can accommodate 120 patients and we are preparing to hand over the Hostel after cleaning,” he said.
KSOU VC Prof. Vidyashankar also said that their hostels are vacant as there are no on-site academic activities. “We will hand over the hostels as and when facilities are asked for,” he added. There are 80 beds in Women’s Hostel and over 120 in Men’s Hostel and they will be handed over to the District Administration, he said.
The District Disaster Management Authority has the powers under the Disaster Management Act to take over any building for disaster response. As per the administration, these hostels will be used as the last resort for quarantining and isolation purposes only.