Shifting COVID patients to hospitals, care centres a Herculean task
COVID-19, Feature Articles

Shifting COVID patients to hospitals, care centres a Herculean task

August 2, 2020
  • Convincing is a major challenge
  • Positive persons provide wrong cell phone numbers and hoodwink officials
  • Volunteers provide information to COVID-positive persons at Krishnaraja, Narasimharaja and Chamaraja Constituencies

By M.T. Yogesh Kumar

Following speedy Rapid Antigen Testing undertaken at all Assembly segments of city, the number of COVID-positive cases is also increasing and the ‘Shifting Team,’ which is deployed to instil confidence among positive patient, is finding it difficult to convince patients and shift them to COVID Hospital or to the COVID Care Centres.

It has also become difficult for the officials to contact those who test positive for COVID and guide them as many are providing wrong mobile phone numbers during swab tests and are hoodwinking the officials, which has turned out to be a headache to them.

There are eight volunteers in the ‘COVID Shifting Team’ deployed at the War Room started by the Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) at the Town Hall, who are playing a major role in guiding COVID positive patients and getting them admitted to hospitals despite risks of getting contracted with the deadly virus. This ‘Shifting Team’ is led by MCC Health Officer Dr. D.G. Nagaraj which is relentlessly working to contact the affected and shifting them to hospital or COVID Care Centres.

How the Team works

The list of persons, who test positive for COVID-19 after swab tests are conducted is sent to the eight-member ‘Shifting Team.’ The list containing more than 150 names of COVID positive persons is segregated according to Constituency – Narasimharaja (NR), Chamaraja and Krishnaraja (KR) and a list is prepared accordingly. Later, the staff call the positive persons over the phone and collect their details such as age, symptoms, if any and other details and document them. Later, the ‘Shifting Team’ divides the positive persons age-wise and the intensity of the disease.

Shifting process

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The list is then sent to the Office of the Department of Health and Family Welfare (District Health Officer’s Office) which is subjected to Triage process. Triage is the prioritisation of patient care (or victims during a disease breakout) based on illness/injury, severity, prognosis and resource availability. The purpose of Triage is to identify patients needing immediate resuscitation, to assign patients to a pre-designated patient care area, thereby prioritising their care and to initiate diagnostic/therapeutic measures as appropriate. 

It is only after the completion of the Triage process, the ‘Shifting Team’ shifts asymptomatic and mild cases to the COVID Care Centre at Mandakalli. Those with severe COVID infections are shifted to the COVID Hospital, moderate cases to the ESI Hospital, pregnant women to the Maternity Hospital at Jayalakshmipuram and Police personnel, officials to Vikram Hospital.

The ‘Shifting Team’ is provided with three Intensive Care Unit (ICU) ambulances and six Tempo Traveller vehicles. This ‘Shifting Team’ works from 8 am to 8 pm and the team have caught the attention of all for their tireless and perfect work of shifting the patients to hospitals or COVID Care Centres.

Hoodwinking the officials 

There are many persons who are providing wrong details including their phone numbers when the staff collect their details when they undergo swab tests. This has become a headache to the officials to contact them when the swab test results turn positive besides becoming a challenge to the officials to trace them.

Such positive people roam freely on streets thus infecting others and hence the rule to compulsorily wear face masks and maintain social distancing has to be followed by all to avoid getting infected. 

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There are also examples of people not believing the health staff where they are told that they have tested positive for COVID-19 and indulge in argument with the staff, who call them over the phone to inform their swab test results. Some even argue that they have not undergone swab testing itself, while some provide wrong phone numbers.

These cases are brought to the notice of MCC Commissioner Gurudatta Hedge or Health Officer Dr. D.G. Nagaraj. 

Later, the officials with the help of Police somehow trace the positive patients, who had provided wrong details and shift them to hospitals or COVID Care Centres.

“I was working in a private company which shut its operations during lockdown. Instead of sitting idle at home, I thought of serving the affected and I am working as a volunteer for the MCC by conducting survey for distribution of grocery kits and packing food packets to those undergoing treatment at COVID Hospital. I am now working as a volunteer in the ‘Shifting Team’ and I am happy that I am serving the affected.”

— Yashas, a volunteer

“Being a National Service Scheme (NSS) volunteer, I am happy to provide my services. The MCC had invited applications for volunteers and after getting selected, I am now working as a volunteer in the Team.”

– Mallappa, volunteer

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