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First time in eight months, Gurugram has fewer than 10 Covid patients on life support

The occupancy rate of reserved hospital beds (and ventilators) has also fallen to its lowest in eight months in Gurugram, health department officials confirmed on Friday, as the number of fresh Covid-19 cases continue to dwindle
By Prayag Arora-Desai, Gurugram
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 12:08 AM IST

The occupancy rate of reserved hospital beds (and ventilators) has also fallen to its lowest in eight months in Gurugram, health department officials confirmed on Friday, as the number of fresh Covid-19 cases continue to dwindle.

At present, only three percent of all reserved ventilators for Covid patients are currently in use (down from 25 percent at the height of the epidemic’s third wave in mid-November). Similarly, only 10 percent of reserved ICU beds for Covid are currently occupied (down from 70 percent in mid-November).

In absolute numbers, there were only nine active Covid-19 patients on life support in the district on Friday. “The last time we had less than 10 patients on the ventilator was in late May or early June last year. Since then, we have consistently had at least 30 patients on life support at any given point. When the third wave of cases was peaking in early November, we had between 50 to 60 people on ventilator, and we even had to allocate additional units on November 15 in case the surge continued. Fortunately it did not, and the situation has really improved this month,” said Dr Jai Prakash Sharma, Integrated Disease Surveillance Program’s district surveillance officer in Gurugram.

“It would be a real morale booster if we can get to a stage where there are no more patients on ventilator, which would mean even fewer patients in intensive care,” Sharma said, confirming that the occupancy rates for ICU beds has also dipped significantly. “There are only 29 more patients in the ICU who are under treatment without ventilator support. In mid-November, there were about 120 to 130 such patients,” he said. Among general hospital beds with oxygen facilities, too, there has been an improvement in the occupancy rate, with only three percent of reserved beds currently in use (as against 31 percent in mid-November).

The ongoing slowdown in new cases, which is now into it’s tenth week in Gurugram, has provided a much needed breather to medical officers, ASHA workers and midwives who have been involved in the epidemic response since March last year. A senior medical officer working at a health care sub-centre in Wazirabad, seeking anonymity, said, “We have a total of 75 medical officers in the district. From March to November, all of us were working on monitoring patients, doing their contract tracing with the help of ASHA workers, supervising testing camps and so on.”

Now, department officials said, a third of all medical officers have been exclusively allocated to the vaccine roll out. “The remaining medical officers are able to manage their routine work as well as addressing new cases of Covid-19 which are still emerging. This would have been very difficult in November. Now, at a few PHCs, cases are low enough that ANMs and ASHA workers are not required for contact tracing and surveillance. It is being managed by the health department internally. ASHA workers will be roped in again for community engagement when the vaccine drive is scaled up,” said Sharma.

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