33 deaths in single day in Himachal

Shimla: As Himachal Pradesh reported 33 Covid fatalities in a single day, and a number of active cases broke all records at 16,098, the state government found itself in a tight spot, even after imposition of tough restrictions, including night curfew in four districts.

The single day reporting of fresh cases was 2,539, much higher against earlier numbers during this month as the total toll in the state also rose to 1407. Kangra, where the things seem to be going out of control, and reports pouring in about shortage of ambulances and over-stressed health care facilities, reported the highest 16 deaths. A 96-year-old male was among those who died of Covid in the state on Wednesday.

But, the state government continued to maintain that there was no shortage of beds and oxygen or medicines in the state and more beds were being added to raise the capacity in major towns viz Dharamshala, Shimla and other districts.

In Kangra, the district administration has decided to take over half a dozen private hospitals and also acquire properties of former Congress minister Sudhir Sharma and sitting cabinet minister Rakesh Pathania, who had voluntarily offered help to the state.

In Shimla, Chief Minister directed the district administration to increase capacity by 500 beds, converting new OPD block of the IGMC hospital into a Covid care centre, taking over 50-beded Regional Ayurvedic hospital and diverting a multi-story parking at new ISBT into a 100-bedded temporarily Covid hospital. Another government hospital at Junga near Shimla will also be taken over as back-up, said the CM.

He said that about 300 additional bed capacity would be created in the new OPD of IGMC in a phased manner.

The CM said that efforts must also be made to increase bed capacity in Civil Hospitals at Rohru, Khanari and Theog. Efforts were underway to create at least 200 bedded pre-fabricated additional capacity in and around Shimla town to meet out any eventuality.

"Matter regarding allowing use of Army Hospital at Shimla would also be taken with the Army authorities so that the bed capacity could be enhanced further," said Thakur.

He said there was no dearth of oxygen, equipment and medicines in the state.

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