Delhi govt orders private hospitals to increase beds for Covid-19 patients
With the city reporting over 7,000 fresh Covid-19 cases on Thursday, the Delhi government directed private hospitals to increase beds earmarked for the treatment of coronavirus patients, for the third time in a week. Two state government hospitals, Lok Nayak and Guru Teg Bahadur, were also asked to scale up Covid-19 infrastructure.
According to an signed by Dr RN Das, medical superintendent of Delhi’s nursing home cell, 115 hospitals with over 50 beds across the city have been asked to reserve 50% of their total ICU and ward beds for Covid-19, or 1.25 times the occupancy on Thursday, whichever is higher.
This will add 491 ICU beds and 2,430 ward beds in the private hospitals over Monday’s escalated total, according to the order. The government had ordered 33 private hospitals to reserve 25% of their ward and ICU capacity last Saturday, then again ordered 54 private hospitals – which includes the 33 from the previous list – to reserve 30% of their ward and ICU capacity on Monday. The hospitals are still in the process of increasing the number of beds.
“The occupancy of the Covid ICU beds has surged and reached more than 85% in 20 of the 54 private hospitals. Similarly, the occupancy of Covid ward beds has also increased and reached more than 75% in 22 of the 54 private hospitals,” read the order. The private hospitals have been allowed to increase their total beds strength by 25% and use the increased capacity only for Covid-19 treatment.
The government also ordered Lok Nayak hospital to increase the total Covid-19 beds from 1,000 as per Monday’s order to 1,500, of which 300 will be ICU beds. And, Guru Teg Nahadur hospital has been asked to increase the number of beds from 500 to 1,000, of which 200 will be in the ICU.
Lok Nayak hospital has curtailed outpatient clinics and halved routine surgeries to ensure staff availability for Covid-19 beds. On Thursday, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences also suspended all routine surgeries Saturday onwards.
In two other separate orders, the Delhi government asked all its hospitals to re-create holding or triage areas where patients can receive oxygen therapy while completing admission process. “It may be ensured that no patient is kept waiting for more than 10 minutes,” the order read.
The Delhi government hospitals have also been directed to utilise dental and AYUSH practitioners for Covid duty.
Dr Suranjit Chatterjee, senior consultant of internal medicine at Indraprastha Apollo hospital, said: “The number of Covid-19 cases has increased sharply and there is a need to increase the number of beds. However, the problem this time around is that the non-Covid services have resumed; they are at 70% to 80% of the pre-Covid capacity,” said.