At least 26 COVID-19 positive patients died while receiving treatment at the Goa Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) during the wee hours on Tuesday. Health minister Viswajit Rane has sought a probe by the high court to ascertain the exact cause of death.
Rane said that the deaths took place between 2 am and 6 am, but evaded questions behind the cause of death. While the cause of deaths is not clear, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant hinted that disruption in oxygen supply in the health facility might be one of the reasons behind the deaths.
Asserting that there is no shortage of medical oxygen, the chief minister added, “Availability of medical oxygen and its supply to COVID-19 wards in the GMCH might have caused some issues for the patients.”
While Sawant ruled out oxygen shortage, the health minister issued a conflicting statement. Rane said the hospital reported a shortfall of oxygen on Monday. He Rane said that the hospital required 1,200 jumbo cylinders of oxygen on Monday, but the government was only able to provide it with 400 cylinders.
Shortage in oxygen supply, says health minister
Post the CM’s visit to the hospital, Rane said, “The high court should investigate the reasons behind these deaths. The HC should also intervene and prepare a white paper on oxygen supply to the GMCH, which would help to set the things right.”
“If there’s a shortfall in the supply of medical oxygen, the discussion should be held about how to bridge that gap,” Rane added. He further said a three-member team of nodal officers set up by the state government to oversee COVID-19 treatment at GMCH should give its inputs about the issues to the CM.
Goa CM’s visit to hospital
Earlier in the day, the CM visited the COVID-19 wards in the GMCH where he met patients and their relatives. “There are issues over the availability of oxygen in these wards which need to be sorted out,” the CM said.
He announced the setting up of a ward-wise mechanism to ensure a smooth supply of medical oxygen.
COVID-19 situation in Goa
According to the Union health ministry, the state has reported 1.21 lakh cases of COVID-19 so far. Of it, 2,804 fresh cases were reported in the last 24 hours. It has also registered 1,729 deaths so far due to the viral infection. Of it, 50 people died on Monday.
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