Preparing for a third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic which is expected to hit kids, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Maharashtra government are gearing up by setting up Pediatric Covid Care Wards in the city and elsewhere, officials said here on Tuesday.
Taking an early initiative, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray last week directed all district collectors and municipal commissioners in the state to be ready for the Covid third onslaught which may also hit children in a big way.
Tourism Minister Aditya Thackeray who is Guardian Minister of Mumbai Suburban District has held discussions with BMC Mayor Kishori Pednekar, Additional Municipal Commissioner Sanjeev Jaiswal and other top officials in this regard.
Among other things, he suggested to the BMC to create separate Pediatric Covid Care Wards anticipating the next wave and the demographics it may target.
"Since last year, our jumbo covid care centres also have units of Covid +ve dialysis and maternity care as well. As the virus mutates and targets different age groups, our response to it must actively mutate as well," said Aditya Thackeray.
As per latest health data of the Public Health Department, nearly two-thirds of the state's infections reported now are in age groups below 50, with the highest new cases reported in the 31-40 age (22.09 percent), 41-50 years (18.15 percent), 21-30 age (17.51 percent).
Children in the 0-10 years account for 3.04 percent, and older children-and teens in the 10-20 years are more than double at 6.80 percent, of the state's new cases, giving rise to huge concerns as the situation is vastly different from the 2020 first Covid-19 hit.
The Pediatric Covid Care Ward is slated to come up at the NESCO Jumbo Covid Care Centre in Goregaon east suburb of Mumbai - and 700 beds are expected to be added.
This would include 300 for a dedicated Pediatric Covid Care Ward comprising Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) with a capacity of 25 beds each to cater to the infants who maybe hit.
Apart from that, the BMC is planning to build four oxygen plants and maintain of adequate stock of medicines like Remdesivir and Tocilizumab injections, masks, PPE kits, etc.
"In the 2020 first wave mostly the adult and senior citizens were affected. In the current second wave (from February 2021) young men/women and children are also getting affected. We have to be alert for the third wave Also we have to account for the fact that the vaccination drive has not yet been opened for the under-18 age groups," a senior BMC official expressed his concerns, requesting anonymity.
Besides wide-ranging consultations shall be held with the Covid-19 Task Force, medical experts and other stakeholders, on the strategies that need to be adopted for the third wave, likely to slam the state around July, as warned by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar recently.
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