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68 dead in 24 hours, hospitals still can’t breathe easy

PATNA Shortage of oxygen continued to cripple hospitals in Patna treating Covid-19 patients, forcing their kin and attendants to carry them from one hospital to another in search of a lifeline
PUBLISHED ON APR 26, 2021 12:37 PM IST

PATNA

Shortage of oxygen continued to cripple hospitals in Patna treating Covid-19 patients, forcing their kin and attendants to carry them from one hospital to another in search of a lifeline.

As per official estimates, city hospitals require around 7,125 oxygen cylinders per day for patients admitted in critical care units. However, the state government has managed to raise the supply to around 6,900 cylinders per day.

Patna district magistrate Chandra Shekhar Singh said they were working overtime to bridge the shortfall so that no patients dies due to shortage of oxygen. “Today, a defunct plant of oxygen, located at Marcha Marchi area of the state capital, was operationalised to supplement the supply. We have sorted all issues and activated the plants on an urgent basis. Now, we are looking to arrange trained manpower so that the plant could work in 24x7 mode,” he said, adding that three other plants have been activated to supply bottled oxygen.

District authorities said PMCH, NMCH and IGIMS, which are main Covid treatment centres of the state government, together required supply of around 2,600 cylinders per day. “The existing plants of oxygen generation at PMCH and NMCH are not capable to deal with the current rush of patients,” said a senior officer.

Meanwhile, the state reported 12,795 fresh cases of Covid-19 and 68 related deaths on Sunday. Of the total, 1,848 cases were detected in Patna and 1,340 in Gaya. Currently, the state has over 87,000 active cases.

On Saturday, 12,359 Covid cases were reported in Bihar, of which 2,479 were found in Patna alone.

The rush at crematoriums to cremate the bodies is such that the kin are being made to wait for up to 20 hours to light the funeral pyre of the deceased.

“Around 100-150 bodies are being cremated per day on different ghats of Ganga. Most of bodies are being disposed of as per Covid protocol, even though a majority of them were not confirmed to have died due to Covid,” said an official at Gulbi Ghat.

The state health department has issued an advisory to the common people, particularly those in home isolation, to take emergency anti-viral, antibiotic and vitamin supplements along with fever suppressants to take care of those suffering from moderate symptoms of the pandemic. They have been advised to take steam vapour twice daily along with gargling with hot water and salt.

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