10k Covid-19 beds to see Delhi through for 30 days: Govt
The government has earmarked 10,000 beds for patients with serious symptoms, projecting that these will see Delhi through for at least the next 30 days, given that Covid-19 cases are increasing at the rate of 5.9% a day in the Capital.
For the next phase, when Delhi is closer to its peak of Covid-19 cases as predicted by the government, between July-end and mid-August, the administration will take over banquet halls, community centres, stadiums and more hotels - all of which will be in addition to the 10,000 beds, senior health department officials said on Sunday.
Additionally, with cases emerging in slums and unauthorised colonies, the Delhi government is now going to increase the number of beds at Covid Care Centres to 10,000, from around 6,000 currently. This is to ensure that asymptomatic patients, or those with mild symptoms who cannot isolate themselves at home, are able to use government facilities for free, a senior official said.
On Sunday, Delhi recorded its highest ever single-day spike, with 1,295 new cases, taking the total cases of infections in the city to 19,844. Of these, 10,893 are active infections.
Covid-19 cases in Delhi are doubling every 12.8 days, compared to the national average of 16.8 days. At the same time, Delhi had one of the highest testing rates with 10,881 tests per million population, as against the national average of 2,675 tests per million.
Government reports showed that as on Sunday, 1,870 of 4,456 beds — across government and private hospitals — were vacant.
When asked whether Delhi’s health infrastructure is prepared to take the load, chief secretary Vijay Dev said: “In the last few days, we have arranged for at least 5,390 new beds in hotels, and government and private hospitals — most of which will be ready by Tuesday. The total Covid beds for serious patients will then be 10,000, which will set us off for at least the next 30 days, even if daily cases increase a bit. This will also give us time to plan for the next one month and beyond.”
For the next phase (in July), when Covid-19 cases in Delhi are close to reaching their projected peak, the government is identifying banquet halls, community centres, stadiums and more hotels to be converted into extended hospitals, and Covid Health or Care centres.
“In a day or two, we will issue an order for a banquet hall to be converted into an extended Covid hospital. This will be a trial, of sorts, for the coming days,” the health department official said.
Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal reviewed the city administration’s bed augmentation plan on Sunday, during which he was informed that the government’s Burari hospital will be ready with 450 Covid-19 beds by June 15.
Similarly, the number of beds equipped with oxygen facilities will be increased from the current 3,233 to 5,513 by June 15. By June 2, there will be 90 additional ICU beds taking the total to 521 and the number of ventilators will be increased to 433 from 343, government reports accessed by HT revealed.
Besides, the Centre on Sunday told the Delhi government that hospitals under the railways have earmarked 100 beds for the state and that the Army Base hospital has kept 70 beds aside.
Three dedicated Covid-19 hospitals - GTB hospital (1,500 beds), Satyavadi Raja Harish Chandra hospital in Narela (200 beds) and Deep Chand Bandhu hospital in Ashok Vihar (200 beds) - will be ready by June 2. Another 1,170 beds are being readied in five hotels in Delhi, which government officials said was the first-ever initiative in India where hotels are being turned into “extended Covid hospitals”.
A senior government official said that around 1,700 beds — against the target of 2,000 — have been confirmed by a majority of the 117 private hospitals that were asked to reserve 20% of their total beds for Covid-19 patients. With this, the government had 9,846 beds in place, as of Sunday. The remaining 154 beds will be covered once more private hospitals from the private hospital pool send their confirmations, the official added.
Additional chief secretary (home), Satya Gopal, who is also the Delhi government’s nodal officer for Covid-19 management, said: “Of the total Covid-19 cases in Delhi, 55% are asymptomatic, who as per Centre’s guidelines should be under home quarantine. So, if we take 45% (around 4,900 cases) of the 10,893 active cases in Delhi, only 2,586 have required hospitalisation as they are serious cases. Patients with mild and moderate symptoms are kept in Covid Health Centre, Covid Care Centres and some are even in home quarantine,” he said.
Government reports showed that as on Sunday, only 624 beds — of a total of at least 6,000— were occupied in Care Centres. Similarly, 158 patients were admitted in Health Centres, which have a capacity of 400 beds.