Mumbai: JJ Hospital to house 500-bed COVID-19 centre

Updated: May 16, 2020, 07:23 IST | Arita Sarkar | Mumbai

Facility, however, will not be accommodated within the hospital building but will be set up on an open space within the premises

A family stopped during nakabandi at the JJ Hospital junction. File pic
A family stopped during nakabandi at the JJ Hospital junction. File pic

Despite the decision that JJ Hospital in Byculla would be kept reserved for non-COVID patients, it is set to become the only hospital among the four state-run ones to have a COVID-care centre with a capacity of 500 beds.

The facility, however, will not be accommodated within the hospital building but will be set up on an open space within the premises.

Dr T P Lahane, who heads the Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) confirmed the development and said, "The facility will be created on the open ground reserved for a super-speciality hospital. It will be a temporary structure and will serve as an isolation facility."

He added that the authorities concerned were still in the process of planning the number of staff and other facilities required. The facility will be similar to the COVID-care centres being set up in other open spaces like MMRDA grounds in BKC and Mahalaxmi Racecourse among others.

When contacted, Dr Sanjay Oak, chairman of the COVID task force, said that the DMER would manage the facility at JJ Hospital. "The facility is for mild symptomatic patients and they will be in close proximity to the hospital," he said, adding that the unit's capacity would be finalised based on the space available.

This isn't the first time that there has been a change of decision at JJ Hospital. Back in March, the hospital authorities had set up isolation facilities in the skin department, which included 90 beds meant for patients in need of intensive care. While it was inaugurated on March 22, it was never opened up for the public because they were waiting for supply PPE kits.

Requesting anonymity, an official from the hospital, said, "There was a need to keep a hospital open for non-COVID patients as well, which is why the skin department building was converted into a laboratory building where the machine that can test 2,000 samples a day has been set up."

All COVID patients have since been sent to GT Hospital, which currently has a capacity of 100 beds and St George Hospital, which has a capacity of about 80 beds.

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