Are Hospitals Ready to Tackle Third Wave Of COVID-19?

As the country recovers from a long and tedious battle against the coronavirus second wave, it is still no time to celebrate. “As researchers and the medical fraternity already anticipate an impending and imminent third wave, which threatens more sweeping damage, it is time to take a step back, analyse the scenario at hand, take notes from the recent battle, and prepare ourselves for the next one,” says Pritika Singh, CEO of Prayag Hospital.

Minimising damage should be a priority on the agenda list, but letting things not go out of control in the first place, should be equally significant. On that note, Singh helps us take a deeper look into what the hospitals, one of the front-running institutions in this battle, are doing to prepare for the next fight and if they are ready to tackle the third wave.

Every Breath Matters – The Oxygen Crisis

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The oxygen crisis unleashed by the COVID-19 second wave is no breaking news. People ran left, right, and centre to find the life-saving elixir to save themselves and their loved ones. Phones wouldn't stop ringing, and despite one's best possible efforts, the demand would not budge down. Singh says, “The government, businesses, NGOs, philanthropists, individuals, and even international organisations poured in to arrange oxygen for the needy. While all that proved to be a good exhibit of humanity, the bottom line is, we do not want to get back in the same situation ever again. Hospitals are setting up their oxygen generation plants as they realise that Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) will still be the backbone in this fight against the third wave.”

Together We Can – Matter Of The Workforce

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The second wave caught us off guard and it registered a roaring rise in number of COVID-19 cases, thus inducing a crushing pressure on the healthcare system. The sudden outburst of cases proved overwhelming for the healthcare system, where every staff member went beyond the call of duty to ensure proper attention to every patient. Singh adds, “Images of tired doctors, nurses, and other staff sleeping on hospital floors to catch some quick rest before returning to the job painted newspapers and social media. To keep that from happening again, hospitals are already working on workforce extension, getting more doctors on board, and strengthening the infrastructure. Despite lacking clarity about what to expect from the third wave, being prepared is the best practice. Hospitals are also already crafting new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to prioritise staff and doctors and ensure maximum efficiency.”

Sensitive Care – Infants Under The Radar

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Since multiple pieces of research have come up with data predicting that the third wave will affect infants, hospitals are also coming up with pediatric intensive care units and neonatal intensive care units with trained staff.

Beds And Infection Control

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When the COVID-19 second wave struck, the oxygen crisis and the shortage of beds proved to be the two biggest concerns. While hospitals have already prepared themselves for the oxygen crisis, the matter of beds is also covered. Singh says, “Since the government has suggested hospitals increase the number of beds, things are already shaping up. By the time the third wave sets in, we can expect a significant improvement in the numbers.”

With regards to infection control, Singh adds, “Hospitals are putting together a dedicated infection control team that will act as an added safety layer to ensure the well-being of doctors and staff members.”


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Speaking of lessons to learn from the second wave, Singh says, “If anything, the second wave should always serve as a reminder of the shortcomings that we faced in terms of infrastructure, preparedness, oxygen availability, medicine shortage, and everything else.” She feels that we are in a better place in terms of research and predictions about the third wave.

“Unlike the second wave, this time, we even have a projected time frame as to when the third wave will set in. Keeping all of that in mind, the remaining time at hand should go into preparing for the war. We might have undermined the second wave and thus were caught off-guard. However, we have witnessed what the second wave did to us, and we also know how the third wave might pan out. Preparedness is the key here,” Singh says. She advises people to avoid stepping out unnecessarily, stay away from crowded places, and follow social distancing protocols at all times, wear face masks, wash hands at regular intervals, and most importantly, get vaccinated. “Think of it as a way to strengthen ourselves in this war against COVID-19,” she says.
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