Serving and retired employees of South Central Railway (SCR) heaved a big sigh of relief with the Telangana government acquiescing in permitting Central Hospital at Lallaguda to admit COVID-19 patients on Tuesday. Upto 100 isolation beds have been earmarked for taking care of coronavirus-positive patients having ‘mild’ symptoms, said senior Railway officials, wishing to remain anonymous.

There are 15 COVID-19 positive Railway personnel, of whom eight are said to be taking treatment in different hospitals including the government-notified Gandhi Hospital and other private hospitals. Seven other persons have been admitted into the Railway Hospital in the last few days, they informed.

The Central Hospital has 300 beds and the hospital administration is said to have made elaborate plans in identifying the doctors and paramedical staff to be deployed for this section. They will be working in shifts round the clock with quarantine periods to give them a break, they said.

The Union Ministry of Health had already trained the health professionals on handling the positive patients, it was pointed out. The Central Hospital has been collecting swab samples from the last fortnight from suspected carriers of the virus and sending them to the notified public labs for confirmation of results.

The neighbouring Andhra Pradesh government had already allowed admission of COVID-19 patients into divisional healthcare units of Vijaywada and Guntakal. About 30 beds were said to have been earmarked for the railway personnel who had tested positive including 10 beds with ICU facilities and oxygen.

General Manager Gajanan Mallya had earlier this month written to the TS government to allow the Central Hospital to admit COVID-19 patients once the number of railway officials and staff infected with the coronavirus started rising as it would reduce the load on Gandhi Hospital. If the patient turns serious, the case could be referred to Gandhi Hospital or any other tertiary care providing private hospital, they added.

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