Kochi administrator partners with BPCL to create 1,500-bed Covid center

A Covid-19 temporary treatment center with 1,500 oxygen beds, considered one of the largest such facilities in the country, has emerged in Kochi after the district administration joined with Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL).

The Covid-19 temporary hospital was erected in a school run by BPCL on the premises of its factory in Ambalamugal in Kochi. The first phase of the facility was made operational on Sunday, during which 100 beds were made operational.

The highlight of the center is that the BPCL Kochi refinery supplies oxygen directly from its plant to the beds via a dedicated 1 km stainless steel pipeline. The refinery has the capacity to produce 12 tonnes of gaseous oxygen per day.

Kochi refinery executive director Sanjay Khanna said it was the first time in the country that a hospital with 1,500 oxygen beds had been built with a direct supply from an oxygen plant. Besides oxygen, BPCL also provides electricity and water for free to the Covid-19 treatment center, he said.

He said BPCL is also installing oxygen plants at government hospitals in Kerala, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. In addition, a bottling compressor is also set up at the refinery, which will also help with the supply of oxygen via cylinders.

Ernakulam district collector S Suhas said the hospital with a direct oxygen supply would help overcome hiccups in the transport of gaseous oxygen. The Kerala Health Department would deploy 480 people, including 130 doctors and 240 nurses. Private hospitals would also support the initiative, he said.

He said critically ill patients (in category C) would be admitted to the makeshift hospital. Within five days, the number of oxygen beds would be increased to 500 and within a week to 1,500. This hospital will be a unique attempt in the country’s fight against the pandemic, he said.

National Health Mission’s Ernakulam District Program Director Dr Mathews Nampeli said direct supply of oxygen from a factory to hospital beds would help overcome the oxygen shortage. “In the past, our hospitals required an oxygen refill once every two weeks. After the multiplication of cases of Covid-19, each alternate day, hospitals require a refill of bottles. The direct supply of gaseous oxygen can help overcome all the logistical problems associated with the supply and conversion of liquid oxygen to gaseous oxygen, ”he said.

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