The Public Works Department has accelerated work to provide oxygen pipelines for nearly 12,770 additional COVID-19 beds being created across the State.
The project is expected to address the increasing demand for healthcare facilities to cope with the second wave of the infection.
Work to provide nearly 3,000 additional beds with oxygen lines has been completed. Most have been immediately put to use. The department plans to complete the entire project by the first week of May to provide vital infrastructure for patients in need of oxygen support.
PWD officials said additional facilities were being created at 168 hospitals, including district headquarters and taluk hospitals and government medical college hospitals as emergency works.
In Chennai, which is witnessing a surge in cases, nearly 3,295 additional beds with oxygen lines are being created. Of these, work is on to add 550 beds with oxygen lines at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, 200 at the Kings Institute of Preventive Medicine, Guindy, and 750 oxygen-supplied ones at the Government Stanley Medical College Hospital. Moreover, facilities are being created on a war footing in 11 other hospitals, including peripheral ones in and around Chennai, to provide 1,420 additional beds, an official said. .
“We are adding such facilities in the existing wards and vacant spaces identified by medical authorities. We get fresh requests daily to add more beds with oxygen lines to cater to COVID-19 patients. For instance, 100 oxygen beds will be created at the Government Royapettah Hospital and 50 at the Kancheepuram hospital,” said an official.
Similarly, the department is creating infrastructure in districts such as Coimbatore, Madurai and Tirunelveli, after consultations with Collectors and medical authorities.
“We have submitted estimates for ₹140 crore to be sanctioned for the projects being executed to overcome the crisis. About 500 workers are being engaged to create more oxygen beds. Workers’ health parameters are also being monitored,” the official added.
Last year, the PWD had set up 27,806 beds in 138 hospitals in the State at a cost of ₹282.51 crore. Of these, 21,692 had oxygen supply.