COVID-19 Care Centres In Apartments – The What, Why & How

Please Note : COVID-19 Care Centre is only a support to existing medical infrastructure. Government guidelines dictate hospitalisation for patients displaying serious symptoms, children, pregnant women, senior citizens and persons with comorbidities. Unless advised otherwise, if you have contracted the virus, hospitalisation is priority.

The Complete Webinar Recording

The COVID scenario in India has caused a situation where ratio of hospital bed to per 1000 of the population is 0.55. Until vaccines come to the market, our best bet is precaution. But what do you do if you get the virus and there’s an acute shortage of hospital beds or ambulance services?

This episode of the Interactive Webinar Series under the umbrella of Neighbourhoods of Tomorrow addresses the vital topic of COVID Care Centres In Apartments – The What, Why & How. Held on the 18th of July, 2020 Saturday, the webinar saw experts addressing questions and engaging with the participants to answer their queries. The panel was formed by :

Dr. Ferzaan N Engineer : Joint Chairman of Nightingales Home Healthcare Services.

Dr. Dhruv Joshi : Co-founder of Cloudphysician and an Intensive Care Specialist

Mr. Manish Bansal : Part of the COVID ER Team of Rohan Vasantha, Bengaluru. Rohan Vasantha is one of the first apartment communities to have set up a 6 bed COVID care centre in their community.

The Webinar also saw the presence of Mr. Vikram Rai, General Secretary of Bangalore Apartments’ Federation, giving much needed insight on BBMP guidelines to set up these care centres in residential community.

The panel was chaired by Ms. Meera K, Co-Founder of Citizen Matters.

The Takeaways

On Testing :

  1. Repeated test is no longer necessary. Once tested positive, recover in Home Quarantine/Hospital for 17 days since the day of declaration for result. A tell tale sign of full recovery is no fever for three continuous days.
  2. The Antigen Test (Serological Antibody Test) – It is new in the market and cheaper. Out of 10 tests, 3-4 give a false negative. If you show symptoms, and yet your test result comes negative go for RT-PCR Test.
  3. The RT-PCR test is more reliable and is considered to be Gold Standard. However, test results can take anywhere between 24 hours to 5 days.

On Care Centres :

There is no need of a formal permission to set up a COVID-19 Care Centre in Apartment Communities. The guidelines issued by BBMP gives a clear go ahead to Associations/RWAs to set up CCCs as long as fitting infrastructure exists. This infrastructure can be empty apartment units or clubhouse set ups with access to clean and hygienic washrooms, preferably separate for each patient.

Things to remember to establish a Care Centre :

  1. Beds should have 6 feet gap between each other.
  2. Oxygen cylinders or oxygen concentrators. (BBMP will soon address on how many cylinders/concentrators can be kept)
  3. Only trained individuals or experts should administer oxygen.
  4. N95 Masks and PPEs for staff interacting with patients.
  5. Availability of Tele-consultation with medical experts.
  6. Support staff.
  7. Bio-medical waste collection infrastructure. All waste collected from places housing COVID positive patients is to be treated as bio-medical wastes.

Oxygen Concentrators come within a monthly rent of approximately INR 5000 – 6000. The market price range between INR 40,000 – 70, 000.

Click here to check out the COVID Care Centre Self Registration Form for Associations in Karnataka.

Click here for BBMP guidelines to set up CCCs in Karnataka.

Please note : While these guidelines cater specifically to Karnataka, clinical suggestions from these can be applied in other states too.

The Q&A Session

Q1. What is the difference between oxygen cylinder and oxygen concentrator?

A: An oxygen cylinder like any other cylinder stores a finite amount of oxygen. An oxygen concentrator produces oxygen with the help of electricity, thereby making supply unlimited.

Q2. How is waste to be collected from positive/quarantined households?

A: BBMP has four listed agencies to collect waste from affected households. They are :

1. Mahadevpura & East Zone : Anu Autoclave (9008684839)
2. Bomanahalli & South Zone : Maridi Eco Industries (9845162041)
3. R.R. Nagar & West Zone : Medicare/Sembramky (7760978790)
4. Dasarahalli & Yelahanka : Prajwal Management Systems (99901773131)

Apart from these, private agencies like Hasiruddulla do provide waste collection service. The recommendation is to segregate waste, tackle the wet waste in house and dry waste can be collected without any adverse effect, even if collection is delayed. For more information on this, click here.

Q3. What is SOP for someone suspecting COVID infection?

A: 1. Go Digital – Tele/video consult a doctor to clarify if symptoms match COVID and a testing is suggested.

2. Get tested. Avail sample collection services at home.

3. Based on severity of symptoms, age group and comorbidities, Home Quarantine or Hospitalisation will be recommended.

4. Do not self-medicate.

Q4. Is a letter from BBMP required for hospitalisation?

A: The BBMP has clarified that such a document is not needed anymore.

Q5: How do you convince residents to set up a COVID Care Centre and keep residents safe?

A: Residents must be made aware that the question about contracting the virus is no longer an “if” but “when”. They should also be made confident that the virus majorly is asymptomatic or mild. Educate the community – explain that the possibility of a situation where no hospital beds will be available is imminent and a community must be as self-sufficient as possible. Focus on the fact that these care centres are interim support for patients who cannot be in Home Quarantine or do not have a support system taking care of them.

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About the Author: Karnika Roy