Of 50,670 tests conducted on Sunday, more than half (52.6%) used the more accurate RT-PCR method, and of the total samples collected, 7.35% tested positive.(HT Photo)
Of 50,670 tests conducted on Sunday, more than half (52.6%) used the more accurate RT-PCR method, and of the total samples collected, 7.35% tested positive.(HT Photo)

As daily Covid-19 cases decline, 10k+ hospital beds free in Delhi

On Monday, Delhi reported 3,726 new cases and 108 deaths due to Covid-19. The number of deaths in a single day crossed the 100-mark again after five days, with 108 fatalities on the day.
By Anonna Dutt | Hindustan Times, New Delhi, New Delhi
UPDATED ON DEC 01, 2020 12:57 AM IST

With the Delhi government having increased the number of beds earmarked for the treatment of patients with Covid-19 and the number of daily cases on the decline, 10,596 Covid-19 beds were vacant in hospitals across the city, according to Monday’s health bulletin.

On Monday, Delhi reported 3,726 new cases and 108 deaths due to Covid-19. The number of deaths in a single day crossed the 100-mark again after five days, with 108 fatalities on the day. Even as tests dropped on Monday’s bulletin, which logs data from the previous day, on account of the weekend, the positivity rate stayed lower than 8%, in a sign that the third wave of infections may be on the wane in the Capital.

Of 50,670 tests conducted on Sunday, more than half (52.6%) used the more accurate RT-PCR method, and of the total samples collected, 7.35% tested positive.

This is the first time since the cheaper and faster alternative rapid antigen test had been deployed in mid-June that the ratio has tipped in favour of RT-PCR tests.

“An RT-PCR is a much more sensitive test, and is likely to pick up more cases than the rapid antigen test. It is good that the government is scaling up the molecular tests, but there will always be some people — especially those asymptomatic — who will get missed out. The best way to prevent infections is to assume everyone has it and behave accordingly — wear masks, maintain social distance, and wash hands frequently. There could be an increase in cases as the temperature drop because people are likely to huddle up indoors increasing the opportunity for transmission,” said Dr Lalit Kant, former head of the department of epidemiology and infectious disease at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

The overall number of hospitalisations on Sunday dropped to 8,098 across hospitals in the Capital. As on Monday evening, only 43% of all Covid-19 beds were occupied and almost 70% of the intensive care unit (ICU) beds were occupied, as per the government’s Delhi Corona app. The ICU occupancy had gone up to 86%, prompting the government to ask its own hospitals to increase ICU beds as well as reserving 80% ICU beds in around 75 big hospitals in the city.

“The number of new admissions have started going down, especially those patients arriving in a serious condition,” said Dr Suresh Kumar, medical director of Lok Nayak hospital, Delhi’s largest Covid-19 treatment facility.

“The disease is unpredictable, but with so many people having had the infection, it is unlikely we will see such a huge surge in cases. New cases are likely to be reported from smaller pockets in the city where people haven’t had the infection so far,” he said.

It will take some time for these numbers to reflect in one of the big private hospitals. “Our ICUs are still running at capacity and even the wards are full. This is because we had long waiting lists of people and we get patients referred from smaller centres as well. However, seeing that the number of cases in the city are on the decline, it is likely that we will start seeing the decline in some time too,” said Dr Vikas Maurya, director and head of the department of pulmonology at Fortis, Shalimar Bagh.

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