Delhi: Few vacancies despite ICU beds going up by 1,000 since Nov 1
Despite a marked increase in the number of intensive care unit beds for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), only 26% were available for patients on Monday evening, as per data on the government’s Delhi Corona app.
The number of ICU beds for Covid-19 treatment– with and without ventilators – have gone up by over 1,000 since the beginning of November, while the total beds for Covid-19 in government, private, and makeshift hospitals have increased by over 2,000 during the same time.
“Even though some people have said that the number of cases are going down over the last few days, it has not reflected in the cases coming to the hospitals. We are still getting very sick patients and our ICUs are running full. Every time a new bed opens, there are patients in queue for it,” said Dr Vikas Maurya, head of the department of pulmonology at Fortis hospital, Shalimar Bagh.
As on Monday evening, there were no beds available in 57 of the 101 hospitals that had ventilator beds for Covid-19 treatment and 38 others had less than five beds available. As for ICU beds without ventilators, of the 109 total hospitals, 55 had no beds and 28 had fewer than five beds available, as per data on the Delhi Corona app.
Dr SP Byotra, chairman of the department of internal medicine at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, concurred. “We have increased some beds, but they are also full. Our staff is stretched thin. We cannot keep expanding the facilities, more because it is drawing from services for the non-Covid patients. We have to therefore ask the people to help out, stay at home, wear masks so that there are fewer new cases.”
However, most of the available beds are in smaller centres that may not be equipped to handle complicated cases. “There are patients who come to our hospitals with very low oxygen saturation and in severe condition, many of whom are referred from other private hospitals. We see about 60 admissions a day, of which 15 to 20 patients are those who have been referred from other centres,” said a senior doctor from Delhi government’s Lok Nayak hospital, on condition of anonymity.
Another reason for concern is that several people over the age of 60 are getting infected. “Currently, 90% of my ICU is full of elderly patients. Many younger people are stepping out getting the infection and passing it on to the elderly in the family. And, these are the patients who get the most severe disease and need ICU care. Other than that, patients are coming in late to the hospital – when their oxygen saturation has already sipped below 90% -- these patients also need immediate ICU care,” said Dr Maurya.
Enter your email to get our daily newsletter in your inbox
AAP MLA Somnath Bharti disqualified after court sentences him to two years in jail in 2016 assault case
- Earlier in the day, a Delhi court sentenced Bharti to two years in jail in a case registered in 2016.