The first phase of the COVID-19 treatment centre with 100 beds has begun functioning at the school operated by BPCL-Kochi Refinery at Ambalamugal.
The centre, set up in collaboration with the Ernakulam district administration, National Health Mission (NHM), and the State Health department will be subsequently scaled up to have 1,500 oxygen beds in a fortnight or so, according to S. Suhas, District Collector.
Sanjay Khanna, executive director (Kochi Refinery), Bharat Petroleum, said the company would provide free oxygen, power, and water to the 100-bed make-shift COVID-19 treatment centre, while the district administration, NHM, and the Health Department would ready the rest of the amenities and were in the process of recruiting manpower. The BPCL-Kochi Refinery is in a position to supply up to 12 tonnes of gaseous oxygen and up to four tonnes of liquid oxygen each day to the State, he said.
The supply of industrial oxygen to the processing units of the refinery has been halted, following which it is being converted to medical oxygen and supplied to the COVID treatment centre through a one-km-long newly laid stainless steel pipeline.
“We have also set apart our oxygen generator for the facility. Likewise, three of the 12 oxygen generators that BPCL will purchase will be given to major hospitals in Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode, and Kannur. BPCL has spent a total of around ₹8 crore to combat COVID in Kerala,” he said.
Mr. Suhas said that patients would be admitted to the new COVID treatment centre after a fire audit conducted by the Navy. Three private hospitals will also set up 100 oxygen beds each at the facility. This will be the first time oxygen will be supplied directly from a manufacturing plant to a treatment centre for category C (low risk) patients. About 480 health workers, including 130 doctors and 240 nurses, will be deployed here on duty.