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Drop in Covid-19 cases in Mumbai puts focus back on other ailments

With the decline in cases of novel coronavirus infections in the city and the arrival of monsoon, civic-run hospitals are converting unused Covid-19 beds into general beds to treat non-Covid patients
By Rupsa Chakraborty, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON JUN 11, 2021 11:53 PM IST

With the decline in cases of novel coronavirus infections in the city and the arrival of monsoon, civic-run hospitals are converting unused Covid-19 beds into general beds to treat non-Covid patients. Surgeries in hospitals have also got a boost with the opening of operation theatres (OT).

Compared to May 1, the number of active Covid-19 patients who are currently on treatment has plunged by 73% as of June 10. As per officials, most Covid-19 beds in hospitals and jumbo centres are lying vacant. For instance, at BYL Nair hospital, Mumbai Central, only 145 of the 700 beds reserved for Covid-19 patients are presently occupied. Similarly, at Nesco jumbo centre, 187 of the 800 Covid-19 beds have Covid-19 patients.

Given this scenario, civic-run hospitals have decided to reduce Covid-19 beds and focus on monsoon-related ailments. Dr Pratima Patil, medical superintendent of Bharat Ratna Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Municipal General Hospital Kandivli, said they will reduce the total Covid-19 bed strength from 200 to 50. At BYL Nair Hospital, around 250 of 700 beds will be reserved for monsoon-related ailments. Similarly, at Rajawadi Hospital, Ghatkopar, 30 of the 150 Covid-19 beds will be temporarily converted into general beds.

“Since almost 60-70% beds are lying vacant, we have decided to temporarily convert some unused Covid-19 beds into general beds for monsoon-related ailments,” said Suresh Kakani, additional commissioner, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

All converted beds have to be fumigated and sanitised to prevent any possible presence of Sars-Cov-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

On Thursday, BMC also issued a circular—Measures to be taken for monsoon 2021 - instructing all four medical colleges including peripheral hospitals to keep the intensive care units (ICU), OT and blood banks ready to handle mass casualty in the monsoon.

“We have instructed all the hospitals to procure enough diagnostic test kits, assess laboratories, and all backup batteries that require electrical gadgets should be ready and charged. Blood bank officers have also been asked to store enough blood to handle mass casualties,” said Dr Ramesh Bharmal, dean of Nair Hospital.

All medical colleges have been instructed to keep 100 beds ready for patients with monsoon-related ailments. Also, ICU, Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) which had remained closed amid the pandemic, have opened to handle any monsoon-related casualties.

Amid the plunge in Covid cases, surgeries see a rise:

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many hospitals were converted into dedicated Covid-19 hospitals. But as cases have decreased to a daily average of around 700 from 8,000 in April, civic-run hospitals are opening their OTs for non-Covid patients.

“We have already fumigated and sanitised our OT. Now, we will send samples to BMC for testing to rule out the presence of any pathogens. Once it is confirmed, we will start the OT for non-Covid patents,” said Dr Patil.

As per rules, to avoid any possible transmission of Sars-Cov-2 in a hospital, most hospitals were only performing emergency surgeries. With the fall in daily Covid-19 cases, they have opened their OT to non-Covid-19 patients.

“During pre-Covid days, we used to do over 150 daily surgeries which have now fallen to around 60-65 surgeries per day. However, we believe the number will rise gradually as many patients are avoiding hospitals due to the pandemic,” said Dr Bharmal.

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