Delhi govt expedites plan to augment Covid beds by 35K
According to the government’s daily Covid bulletin, tests went up from 65,487 on Tuesday to 89,742 on Wednesday, even as the positivity rate touched 11.88% on Wednesday
The Delhi government has pushed its Covid beds augmentation plan and cancelled all leaves, except medical, granted to its staff as the daily count of infections almost doubled on Wednesday to hit 10,665, compared to Tuesday’s 5,481, and hospitalisations went up by about 47% in a single day.
The services department, in an order issued on Wednesday, cancelled the leaves granted to all officials and staff to ensure there was no manpower shortage to deal with the crisis.
As an immediate measure, the Delhi government has planned to escalate its Covid-19 beds to least 35,500, of which about 10,000 would be at its own hospitals and those run by the three municipal corporations, 3,775 beds at the Central government-run hospitals, 14,000 at private facilities and 7,777 at Covid Care Centres. So far, about 10,300 Covid-19 ICU beds have been identified, data compiled by the Delhi government showed.
“The Omicron variant is more contagious and going by global trends, children are also likely to get infected by it. Therefore, the government is also arranging about 2,262 paediatric Covid beds and 858 ICU beds for children,” said a senior government official asking not to be named.
Delhi government’s health department also issued an order on Tuesday, directing escalation of bed capacity in nine Covid hospitals in the city. The order proposed to increase the beds at the Indira Gandhi Hospital from 1,181 to 1,500, at Lok Nayak and affiliated facilities from 650 to 750, at Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital and affiliated facility from 600 to 750, and at the Burari hospital from 300 to 400.
At the Rajiv Gandhi Super Specialty Hospital, the number of beds was proposed to be increased from 150 to 300 and at the Ambedkar Nagar Hospital, the bed count will be increased from 135 to 200. Apart from this, at Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital, Deep Chand Bandhu Hospital and Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar hospital, the number of beds will to be increased from 100 each to 150.
“It seems hospitalisation rates are relatively low. We are watching the situation very closely. In Delhi, the hospitalisation rate is about 3.7% or close to 4%. This is the early input that we have. Compared to this, last year and even in 2020, the typical hospitalisation rate was close to 20%. But please remember, even though the Omicron variant causes a mild infection, if the number of Covid-19 cases increase exponentially, the number of hospitalisations will also increase in proportion. That is why we need to stop this or slow down the pace of this surge as much as possible,” said Dr VK Paul, NITI Aayog member (health) in a press briefing on Wednesday.
According to the government’s daily Covid bulletin, tests went up from 65,487 on Tuesday to 89,742 on Wednesday, even as the positivity rate touched 11.88% on Wednesday.
Private testing facilities in the city said they have been stretched to their maximum capacity since the second Covid wave, and added that the government agencies should work towards ramping up testing facilities at government hospitals.
“To increase capacity we need trained manpower, space, equipment and finances. The testing capacity has been stretched to its maximum limit since the Delta wave. We are running short of manpower, large number of doctors, even as paramedics and lab hands have fallen prey to the virus. We are working at best that we can. The government should also increase the capacity in government hospitals,” said Dr Navin Dang, microbiologist and founder of Dr Dang’s Lab.
A second senior government official said that a review of the testing infrastructure is being planned in a day or two. “As of now, no such lag on test results have been reported. But we are monitoring the situation closely. In any case, we are ensuring that all districts and medical centres have adequate stocks of rapid antigen test kits. Besides, we are also checking at all medical stores to ensure Covid home test kits are available in enough quantities for people to buy,” the official said who asked not to be named.
As of date, the national capital had 790 metric tonnes of liquid medical oxygen available. In addition, there is also a buffer stock of 442 MT. A total of 89 PSA plants have been commissioned so far in the city, and another nine will be commissioned by the end of this month, according to the government data.
About 691 ambulances of which 320 are cabs-turned-ambulances are operational in the city, the data showed. “The response time is less than 15 minutes for around 1,500 calls at present. Each ambulance has an oxygen support system including a children mask and Ambu bag (used to deliver positive pressure ventilation to a person struggling to breathe). All the vendors have been kept on high alert, and they will provide 250 ambulances on a notice of 1-2 days,” the second official said.
Driving licence tests to be suspended
Transport minister Kailash Gahlot on Wednesday announced that due to the surge in Covid-19 cases, the state transport department will be suspending all driving tests and learner’s licence tests in Delhi. Fresh appointments wouldn’t be provided and existing appointments would be rescheduled.
“Considering rising Covid cases and the recent DDMA guidelines, all appointments for DL & LL tests (fresh & existing) at all RTOs will be suspended from tomorrow (6.1.22). Details for rescheduled dates will be sent to all applicants via SMS. We will extend the validity of existing LLs,” Gahlot tweeted.
However, all other online ‘faceless’ services will continue and fitness tests of commercial vehicles would also be provided.