In this Andhra district, opting for govt Covid care centres is like buying a lottery ticket

Krishna District Collector Md Imtiaz launches lottery to boost occupancy at its Covid care centres, where less than 10% of 3,200 beds are currently occupied.

A Covid care centre at Vijayawada | Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
A Covid care centre at Vijayawada | Manisha Mondal | ThePrint

Krishna: Mild and suspected coronavirus patients in Andhra Pradesh’s Krishna district now have a cash incentive to opt for Covid care centres instead of home isolation. 

District Collector Md Imtiaz has launched a lottery to boost occupancy at Krishna’s eight Covid care centres, where less than 10 per cent of the 3,200 beds are currently occupied. 

The weekly draw of lots will involve compiling the names of patients at all the Covid care centres and choosing three winners. The first winner will get a cash reward of Rs 15,000, while the second and third will win Rs 10,000 and Rs 5,000, respectively, Imtiaz told ThePrint. 

The amount, to be drawn from the district administration funds, will be transferred directly to the winners’ bank accounts.

Covid care centres are makeshift facilities set up by the government to aid the isolation of very mild, mild or suspected coronavirus patients. 

The aim of the lottery idea is to prevent a situation where patients who don’t have the requisite facilities opt for home isolation, thus risking a potential deterioration in their condition, or flock to hospitals that are bursting at their seams.

“It is to encourage people who do not have home isolation facilities — particularly people in lower income groups, rural population, below middle class… We are asking them to stay with us, so that they do not flock to hospitals out of panic,” Imtiaz told ThePrint.

The first lucky draw was conducted Monday. The winners were an auto driver, a daily wage agricultural worker, and a laundry worker.

The district administration plans to continue the initiative for another four weeks at least.

Andhra Pradesh reported 21,320 Covid cases on 18 May. The total active cases in the state stood at 2,11,501 on the same day, 9,953 of these were from Krishna. 

‘Almost like home’

Imtiaz said the government’s Covid care centres have been lying vacant. According to him, only 300 of the 3,200 beds — just about 9 per cent — are currently occupied. 

Low occupancy at Covid care centres has been a matter of concern in other parts of the state as well. Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy had earlier this month asked district collectors to inspect the low occupancy rates at government-run Covid care centres.

Last year, Imtiaz said, the situation was different, with more people getting admitted to Covid care centers. This time, he added, a lot of people are preferring to stay at home for isolation, including those who do not have such a provision at their place.

“This time, many people — once they test positive — they prefer home isolation. If they’re not under proper care, they’re getting sick and joining hospitals, which is turning out to be bad in many cases,” he added. “That is the reason that, when someone is having symptoms even if he has not tested positive, let them come join Covid care centers, take treatment and then go back.”

The Krishna district has about 5,000 hospital beds. It records about 400 fresh admissions daily and 300 discharges, Imtiaz said, adding that most of the hospital beds are full. 

Imtiaz said it is difficult to manage a fresh admission every time because of a scarcity of hospital beds. As a result, he added, they have to make a lot of “adjustments” daily to keep the balance.

“This (Covid care centres) is almost like home, plus we have medical facilities, good food, doctors taking three rounds a day, oxygen concentrators and ambulances ready to take them to hospitals if necessary,” Imtiaz said.

Last year, the Krishna district collector came up with another novel initiative — appointing private psychologists to talk to patients at Covid care centres.

(Edited by Sunanda Ranjan)

Source: In this Andhra district, opting for govt Covid care centres is like buying a lottery ticket (theprint.in)

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