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Meghalaya run short of ambulance amid surge in COVID-19 cases

SHILLONG: At a time when Meghalaya is experiencing an exponential increase in COVID-19 cases, the EMRI 108 ambulance service has been running only three vehicles in the state capital to transport patients in need of immediate medical emergency.

Besides these three ambulances stationed in the area, there are 2-3 ambulances stationed on the outskirts of the city that could be transferred to Shillong in the event of an emergency.

However, GVK EMRI state head Deepankar Choudhary fears that the EMRI might not be able to protect the entire population of the state capital if COVID-19 cases rise as they have in other states.

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Choudhary said, “If the situation worsens, as it has in Delhi, we will face a shortage because we only have 43 ambulances (is fitted with medical oxygen and basic life support ) serving the entire state.”

“50% of the 43 are under a year old, while the rest are over 7-8 years old, and there is a perennial issue of breakdown and maintenance, as well as distance, as we often have to move patients from as far as Umling to Shillong,” he added.

Talking about the ambulances that were procured last year he said as many as 25 ambulances were procured through them under the chief minister’s relief fund. Out of these 23 came under 108 operations as some old ambulances were replaced”.

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We shifted 518 positive cases to hospitals in 2020.

This time, we’re seeing a 76 % increase, which means we moved 76 % more patients in April 2121 than we did at the same time last year.

“Since the pandemic broke out we have provided service to over 5000 patients, and over 377 positive patients were shifted to either hospitals or health care centres last month ” he added.

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