LAHORE December 08:Punjab Health Minister Dr. Yasmin Rashid said here on Tuesday that the number of critically ill patients in Punjab has touched the level of first week of June 2020, which was peak month of the Pandemic. Addressing a press conference at the Surgical Tower, Mayo Hospital, provincial Health Minister said that during the first wave, crisis management systems were developed and lessons were learnt on patient and clinical management which has resulted in somewhat reduced mortality.
Present in the press conference were CEO Mayo Hospital Asad Aslam Khan, Medical Superintendant Mayo Hospital Dr. Zahid and others. Dr. Yasmin Rashid said that in the last 24 hours in the province 429 cases were reported and mortality is correspondingly increasing. Lahore has always been at the epicenter of the Pandemic reporting almost 60 per cent of the total cases of Punjab and in the last 24 hours 149 patients were reported in the city.
The Heath Minister said, “Currently we have 413 seriously ill patients and 381 are on HDU beds, 157 are in ICUs and 26 are on ventilators. The second week of June was very difficult for the government. Currently patients with mild symptoms have been placed in home quarantine and only serious patients are hospitalized. We have five cities showing high infectivity rate that are Lahore, Rawalpindi, Multan Faisalabad and Bahawalpur. I want to share that 10,000 oxygenated beds are available with central oxygen supply because people face breathing problem as main symptom. We have learnt that Oxygen with positive pressure administered on BiPap produces good results before use of ventilators. Patients showing symptoms may come to Mayo Hospital or the Expo Centre where they can avail free test facility. In case of COVID-19 getting positive, if there are no symptoms, we will give guidelines for home isolation. In case of moderate or severe symptoms, the government hospitals are available.
The Minister said that in case of queries about beds, the following number may be contacted for any information: 042 99211136-8. People may also contact Rescue 1122 helpline who will transfer the patient to the nearest facility where beds are available.
Dr. Yasmin Rashid said, “The Expo Centre facility that was formerly a quarantine center, has been converted into a 300-bedded Field Hospital and is now available with centrally oxygenated beds, portable ventilators and BiPap facility. Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar has given special instructions to take all out measures to control Corona Pandemic. There is no shortage of medicines in any hospital and adequate stock Remdesivir and Actemra is available. The medicine is provided according to the symptoms. The government has provided funds of Rs. One billion to the Specialized Healthcare and Medical Education Department for resource provision. The Minister said that in the last 24 hours, 10,735 tests were conducted and so far a total of 20,99,000 tests have been conducted. Contact Tracing is being carried out across the province. In Lahore alone, so far 3300 micro lockdowns have been imposed with 63 major lockdowns especially in Data Gunj Bux, Gulshan Ravi and Samanbad areas. Directions have been given for strict action on violation of SOPs but before that I would like to plead to people to follow the SOPs on their own. I urge shopkeepers not to allow entry of customers without wearing masks. Only by wearing mask, we can reduce the spread of infection by upto 70 per cent. We had a successful isolation process during the first wave.”
The Minister also said, “At Mayo Hospital there are 451 Oxygenated beds and out of 85 ventilators 59 are occupied. On directions from the Chief Minister, all High Dependency Units have been made functional again for COVID-19. For Rawalpindi, we have reserved Benazir Bhutto Hospital, Institute of Urology and Holy Family Hospitals. Overall 2200 ventilators capacity is available with emergency cushion. We have 49 ventilators available in Rawalpindi and number of patients currently is 9. After Lahore, the largest number of patients is in Rawalpindi. As of today, the infectivity rate has reached 9.75 which means the spread has picked pace. Winter slows down the immune system due to which infections like Corona spread fast. The important thing is that if disease spreads fast, hospitals are crowded. Hence more caution is needed. Wash your hands, use face mask, observe Social Distancing and restrict unnecessary movement.
Responding to queries of journalists, the Minister said that uninterrupted supply of Oxygen has been ensured. If number increase, we may face serious difficulties. She said High Risk allowance was being given to all Paramedics serving COVID-19 patients. She said trial of vaccine were in third phase in coordination with a Chinese firm and they will provide adequate supply of vaccines if the trial succeeds. Government of Pakistan has earmarked 150 million dollars for vaccine. She said lives of people are the biggest asset of the country. She said that one section of the PKLI has been reserved for COVID-19 as liver transplants have resumed and 14th Liver Transplant was performed last week. She said she had been saying for the last 10 months that people must wear mask even when the cases were reduced.
Awareness on Corona was very important and media has played crucial role in spreading awareness. She said that once the difficult time is over, political parties may continue with gathering. Public gatherings, she added, risked the lives of thousands of people. She also said lockdowns have huge financial cost especially for daily wagers and street peddlers. She said telemedicine services have been resumed. The Punjab Healthcare Commission has been directed to review rates of all hospital.