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COVID19 wave – Here’s How Every Housing Society Can Prepare Better

Here’s what societies can do to be prepared for a situation where tenants catch the COVID infection, and bridge the need gap for a few hours, till the patients receive the required medical assistance or get hospitalized;

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The second wave of the COVID19 pandemic has left many families and housing societies quarantined, especially in Mumbai. Maharashtra stands as the worst-hit state, the city of dream its biggest victim. With the increasing numbers in multiples of two and three, the healthcare system is currently crunched. In such circumstances, every citizen, household, and housing society will need to brace for emergencies. These emergencies can be in form of being ready with oxygen support, keeping ambulance services numbers handy, and allotted isolation spaces within the premises.

Here’s what societies can do to be prepared for a situation where tenants catch the COVID infection, and bridge the need gap for a few hours, till the patients receive the required medical assistance or get hospitalized;

  • An emergency holding medical area or an isolation area for patients should be created at the society’s clubhouse/ office/ Gymnasium; this designated area must have an attached bathroom
  • Have a simple mattress and pillow placed where patients can lie down and rest
  • Arrange for a few Pulse Oximeters, BP monitors, and Thermometers to check vitals of patients from time to time
  • Arrange for an Oxygen Concentrator machine (which can be rented) to give up to 5liters per minute of Oxygen to patients requiring it. Don't get oxygen cylinders, they should be strictly reserved for hospitals
  • Arrange for Hand Sanitizer, a box of gloves, N95 masks, normal masks, and an Infrared Thermometer too

Maintenance of isolation areas within housing societies

  • The area should be sanitized and cleaned every two days (if not occupied)
  • If patients are at the isolation area, then cleaning should be done daily
  • Keep 1 person in charge of this isolation area
  • In case of an emergency, the person in charge of the management of this designated area should be contacted immediately; other residents should be alerted to avoid any panic
  • A single committee (of 4-5 persons) should ideally be formed for the management of this holding area who can support the managing person
  • One person from the committee should be the point of contact for residents to request the use of the holding area. This designated person must always wear N95 mask and gloves, inspect preparedness, and then call the suspect/ COVID confirmed resident to the designated area
  • The patient must himself/ herself be wearing a simple cloth mask. Always keep a distance of at least 2meters from other patients and do not touch your face, eyes, or mouth
  • Patient’s temperature must be measured with the Infrared Thermometer, using no-touch technique
  • If the patient is able to help himself, then instruct the patient to measure oxygen saturation, if the patient needs assistance then ideally the patient’s family member should step in; he/ she should also wear an N95 mask, gloves and help measure oxygen saturation. If the saturation is below 95% then committee members should instruct and guide the patient/ the family member to start oxygen concentrator and apply Oxygen Cannula or mask to the patient and keep flow at 4-5Lit/min
  • Keep measuring Oxygen Saturation every 15mins and keep a note of all measurements on a note pad
  • Administrators should ensure that no other resident or person visits the holding area, to avoid unnecessary exposure
  • Administrator and a person from the patient’s family, should seek medical assistance and arrange a hospital visit for the patient
  • The administrator and a family member should call local municipal war room or nearest hospital and arrange for admission or assessment in the emergency department
  • Once the patient is successfully moved to a hospital, the area should be sanitized as per the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation standards. The area is only ready to use again once it is sanitized
  • Also, lookout for a centralized grocery supplier so that all tenants can get the supplies on time

The idea behind this is, if any resident of a society showcases any symptoms of COVID19 and is short of breath, then he/ she can be shifted at this allocated area, where temperature and Oxygen Saturation is monitored. If oxygen saturation is low, below 95%, supplemental oxygen can be administered to the patient via Nasal Cannula or Oxygen Mask at 4-5Lit/Min using the Oxygen Concentrator. This, however, is only a stop-gap arrangement until a hospital bed is arranged. This is by no means a solution to stay there for more than a few hours, but simply a place to get basic care and oxygen until a hospital bed is arranged.

Last but not the least, this is a time where neighbors and societies need to step as a community to help each other in this crisis. COVID 19 can be defeated, if we follow all the norms. This is a treatable infection and ostracization of people will only add to the family’s woes. Remember, together we can all beat COVID19.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Tags assigned to this article:
World Health Day 2021 COVID-19

Dr Rahul Pandit

Director-Critical Care, Fortis Hospitals, Mumbai

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