ISLAMABAD-As the number of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the federal capital crossed the 2,100 count, the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) administration mulled increasing the number of beds in Intensive Care Unit (ICU), The Nation learnt on Friday.

As per the National Command and Operations Center (NCOC) details, 85 COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the city in last 24 hours while the total number of deaths also became 22.

The documents available with The Nation said that the PIMS administration tabled the proposal of increasing number of beds in ICU at a recent meeting held with Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on National Health Services (NHS) Dr. Zafar Mirza during his visit.

Details said that so far the PIMS ICU has the capacity of around 15 beds and eight of them were occupied with four patients on ventilators.

The documents said that the Executive Director (ED) PIMS Dr. Anser Maxood briefed about the meeting with Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health held on 27-05-2020 in PIMS and informed the House that he wishes to increase the number of ICU beds in isolation ward.

According to the documents,a number of decisions were taken in the meeting unanimously which also include that PCR machine be made functional in the Pathology Department today, so that COVID-19 tests of the PIMS employees and dead bodies in the mortuary be performed on top priority basis and the dead bodies be disposedof timely.

The meeting also decided the COVID-19 test to be performed before any surgical procedure. Meanwhile, it also decided to consider all patients as COVID-19 positive for other procedures like endoscopy and dialyses also.

It also decided that the patients will be referred to designated private labs for COVID-19 tests with discounts.

After detailed discussions it was decided to designate more beds/rooms in the wards as isolation beds are not feasible, therefore it was decided that one room should already be designated in each ward as isolation room for suspected COVID-19 patients.

Further, the meeting decided that the CT scan be done as first diagnostic tool for suspected COVID-19 patients. The chair also requested all head of departments to help in arranging examination gloves/latex and surgical masks.

The maximum capacity already designated as isolation ward for COVID-19 patients is enough for PIMS to handle such patients as being tertiary care facility PIMS is already dealing with non-COVID-19 patients.

A committee comprising Dr. Rubina Alam, Head of Pulmonlogy Department, Dr. Ayesha Isani Majeed, Head of Radiology Department and Dr. Naseem Akhtar, Head of infectious diseases department was tasked to prepare SOPs for patients of COVID-19 positive required X-Rays.

Head of Radiology department will prepare/send a request for provision of portable X-ray machines to NDMA.

It also decided to make sure that the concerned team on duty/on call are attending the patients properly in EAC and that an officer not below the rank of senior registrar be deputed to be coordinated with in case of emergency.

SAPM on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza during his visit to PIMS had said that government is taking every measure to protect people from the COVID-19, while new PCR machine will be installed in the hospital for the COVID-19 testing.

Dr. Mirza said that the patients admitted in PIMS are being provided all possible facilities while healthcare workers are also giving best services in these difficult times.

He said that the healthcare workers are working day and night to cope with the challenge of COVID-19 and their protection is top priority of the government. Dr. Mirza also said that government is ensuring uninterrupted supply of Personal Protection Equipment in the hospital.