COVID-19: Tertiary care hospitals to only treat critical patients in J&K, says govt

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Srinagar: The J&K government on Tuesday said that only critically ill COVID-19 patents will be treated in tertiary care health institutes including four in Kashmir and three in Jammu which have been designated as ‘Category 1 referral hospitals’ in the Union Territory.
Meanwhile, all COVID-19 positive patients with mild and moderate symptoms will be treated at sub-district, district hospitals or any other hospital which is not a Category 1 referral hospital, an order issued here on Tuesday said.
The order said any deviation from the order shall attract penal action under Disaster Management Act, 2005.
The decision was taken with an aim to maintain availability of beds in tertiary hospitals in J&K for acute COVID-19 cases, who require specialized treatment or intensive care. The government has already allowed all asymptomatic COVID-19 positive patients with no co-morbidity and not vulnerable otherwise to remain under home quarantined.
The order said that it has been observed that there is a sharp rise in the number of active Coronavirus positive cases in J&K, leading to a rise in the bed occupancy of COVID-19 hospitals in the UT.
“It has been observed that as a result of this rise, patients, who are critically ill or who require specialized care fail to get admission in tertiary care health institutes – S K Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), Soura, SKIMS, Bemina, SHMS hospital, Chest Disease hospital in Kashmir and Government Medical College (GMC), Jammu, CD hospital and ASCOMS hospital in Jammu region,” it said.
As many as 470 new positive cases were reported on Monday, taking the total number of infected persons to 18390 in J&K. Of the 330 deaths reported since March this year, 295 people have lost their lives due to COVID-19 in 54 days, and 315 people in 68 day in J&K. Srinagar is the worst affected district in J&K with 99 deaths and 2384 active cases.
The order said that it has also been observed that COVID-19 patients are directly coming to Category 1 hospitals and are admitted without their having a need for treatment in such hospitals, thus causing lot of difficulties to other more needy patients.
“The Finance Commissioner, Health and Medical Education department in a letter dated July 15, 2020 and another letter dated July 23, 2020 has issued instructions to Director, Health Services, Kashmir as well as to various Tertiary care hospitals in Kashmir regarding the procedure to be followed for referral of sick patients to Category 1 heath institutes in Srinagar,” it said.
It said that the State Executive Committee is of the view that these instructions are required to be strictly complied on the ground, across all districts of J&K, without any relaxation.
“SKIMS, Soura, SHMS hospital, CD hospital and SKIMS, Bemina in Kashmir division and GMC, Jammu, CD hospital in Jammu, and ASCOMS, Jammu, in Jammu division shall be designated as tertiary care-1 institutes and referred as Category 1 referral hospitals,” it said.
The order further said that all the COVID-19 positive patients with mild and moderate symptoms shall first be admitted to Category II and Category III hospitals at Sub-district and District hospitals or any other hospital which is not a Category 1 referral hospital. “Such patients shall not be directly admitted to any Category 1 referral hospitals,” it said.
The patient shall be admitted and treated in Category 1 referral hospital only if they are duly referred by a concerned district level hospital or non-category 1 referral hospital. “This will be ensured by all Chief Medical Officers and supervised by Deputy Commissioner concerned,” it said.
“The Divisional Commissioners, Kashmir and Jammu with the assistance of Directors of Health Services, Kashmir/Jammu, respectively shall put in place a mechanism to monitor the compliance of these instructions,” the order said.
It ordered heads of tertiary care institutes not to deviate from these instructions without the knowledge of their respective Divisional Commissioners. “Any deviation from this order shall attract penal action under Disaster Management Act, 2005,” it added.