Mumbai: Field hospitals evacuated, upgrade likely before Covid patients return |

BKC jumbo vaccine centre damaged by strong winds caused by Tauktae

Mumbai: The three Jumbo centres or field hospitals at Dahisar, Mulund and Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC), that have helped the city tide over the second Covid wave, will stay shut for the next 10-15 days as they are taken up for repairs and upgrades. It will render over 4,000 beds out of circulation. More than 600 patients were moved out of the facilities over the weekend and shifted to eight hospitals ahead of the cyclone.
BMC officials said there was no serious damage to the facilities due to the storm. These makeshift structures have been operating since the past 10-12 months and a need for refurbishment was in discussion. Additional municipal commissioner (health) Suresh Kakani said since patients have been moved out because of the cyclone, they would utilise the opportunity to prepare for the third wave.
“There won’t be any bed shortage. We have adequate beds available now,” Kakani said. The BKC jumbo, India’s first field hospital, has been operating since May 25 while the Dahisar one started on July 27 and Mulund got its first patient on July 16 last year. Together, they have catered to over 30,000-35,000 patients.
“Our 3 jumbo Covid care centres that have been vacated as precautions, will now be taken up for maintenance and repairs over the next 10 days,” environment and tourism minister Aaditya Thackeray tweeted on Monday. The centres will be repaired after a structural and electrical audit starting Tuesday or Wednesday, said Kakani. The jumbo centres at NSCI in Worli and Nesco in Goregaon were not hit by the cyclone since they are housed in permanent structures.
However, a portion of a glass facade at a covid facility inside the Cidco Exhibition Centre at Vashi fell as winds blew over it. Two persons received minor leg injuries in the accident, while some patients had to be evacuated as rainwater began seeping in. NMMC commissioner Abhijit Bangar said, “The space from where the glass cover had broken loose has now been repaired.”
At BKC, the waiting area hangar was dismantled and dean Dr Rajesh Dere said equipment was covered up for protection from rain or leakage.
At the Dahisar jumbo, where five of the seven hangars are used for Covid care, dean Dr Deepan Shriyan said there were minor leakages after Monday’s battering. She said harnesses were used to strengthen the structure and weights placed on the roof for stability. Nearly 300 patients were shifted out of the centre. The vaccination centre that runs out of the remaining two hangars is likely to remain, she said.
In Mulund, BMC shifted 111 patients from the Richardson and Cruddas centre. Of 18 ICU patients, 7 were sent to a step-down facility and the rest kept there as the ICU is housed in a permanent structure. “BMC was swift in shifting patients, but it must look at permanent structures for Covid and vaccination keeping the monsoon in mind,” said BJP MLA from Mulund, Mihir Kotecha. (With inputs from Vijay Singh)


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