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Hospitals to conduct ‘mock drills’ to deal with COVID-19 during Sunday’s janata curfew

Health ministry joint secretary Lav Agarwal announced Saturday that 1000 hospitals were trained through video conferencing to conduct these drills.

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New Delhi: As the country comes to a halt with the ‘janata curfew’ imposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday, healthcare workers at all government hospitals will check their preparedness for dealing with COVID-19 cases through mock drills.

Health ministry joint secretary Lav Agarwal announced Saturday that 1000 hospitals were trained through video conferencing to conduct these drills.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has also released guidelines on how doctors, nurses, lab technicians, cleaners and others involved are to conduct themselves during the drill.

Also read: Trump pushing for hydroxychloroquine as COVID-19 treatment, but scientists say more evidence is needed

The consultation stage

In the consultation rooms, doctors and numbers will carry out physical examination of patients with respiratory symptoms. An inventory of personal protective equipment (PPE) and medicines, as well as hand washing and hand sanitizing facilities, will be maintained.

Physical examination of patients without respiratory symptoms will also be conducted based on self-declaration and/or history.

Cleaners will disinfect these rooms after every consultation with patients who display respiratory symptoms.

The waiting rooms have to be well-ventilated areas with exhaust fans.

Emergency, inpatient & isolation facilities

In emergency, inpatient and isolation facilities of hospitals, doctors and nurses have to be provided with PPE, drugs and disposables, oxygen apparatus, suction machine as well as hand washing facilities.

Cleaners entering patients’ rooms are required to do so with proper PPE, and lab technicians have to to focus on collection of respiratory samples.

The guidelines state the administrative staff do not involve any contact with the patients and will only work on logistics, supply and record maintenance. Thus, what they need are facilities for hand washing and hand sanitization.

The ICUs will be manned by respiratory doctors and anaesthesiologists, along with ICU nurses and Operation Theatre technicians.

They should be equipped with PPE, oxygen supply, emergency medicines, monitors, defibrillators and ventilators.

Transportation of patients

Those responsible for transporting patients will also be trained on how to transfer suspected COVID-19 patients to referral healthcare facilities. While the driver’s compartment would be separated from the main compartment, paramedics are required to assist with the embarkation and disembarkation of the patient.

Meanwhile, cleaners would ensure cleaning and disinfecting the vehicle after each patient is transported.

Also read: Twitter antakshari, composing songs — how ministers & celebs are observing janata curfew

The broad tips

The ministry has also issued general tips to all those involved in the drill, including steps to be taken to maintain “frequent hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene”, restrict the number of visitors and train rapid response team members for avoiding self-contamination.

Doctors, nurses and technicians are also required to undergo knowledge assessment along with skill assessment, and requisite training, if required.

Microbiologists are required to be posted for supervising sample collection from patients in a proper manner and ensuring transportation of samples to the designated laboratories.

Public health specialists have to be engaged to advise on how to reduce infections in the medical care facility.

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