Covid-19 in Delhi: Hospitalisations peak at 9,000; 88% ICU beds full
The number of hospitalisations due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) reached an all-time high on Tuesday, crossing the 9,000-mark for the first time, on a day Delhi recorded less than 7,000 cases for three days in a row, mainly because of fewer tests conducted during the festive season. .
As on Tuesday, 9,215 patients were admitted with the infection at various city hospitals. 6,396 cases were reported with just over 49,000 tests being conducted on Tuesday -- 32,431 rapid antigen and 16,600 of the more accurate RT-PCR tests, according to the daily health bulletin released by the Delhi government.
On average, 54,000 tests were being conducted each day before Diwali.
With 99 deaths on Tuesday, Delhi reported more than 90 deaths for six days in a row. With these deaths, the seven-day average case fatality ratio (CFR) – the proportion of people who die among those who test positive – touched 1.65%, the highest since the beginning of August. The total CFR, which had been on the decline, also inched upwards over the last four days and stood at 1.58% on Tuesday.
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At its peak, the number of hospitalisations had hit 6,264 during the first surge of infections in June-July and 7,051 during the second surge in September. Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain had on Monday said Delhi has already crossed the peak for the third wave of infections.
With the increase in hospitalisations, more than 55% of the total beds earmarked for the treatment of Covid-19 patients were occupied as on Tuesday evening, according to the Delhi corona app. However, the cause of concern is the number of ICU beds. Over 88% ICU beds were occupied across hospitals on Tuesday evening.
“If the increase in the number of cases continues, there will be a crisis. This is because most of the ICU beds are already occupied. A positivity rate of 13 to 15% means widespread transmission is happening. And, we have everything open other than the schools; the markets have been crowded during the festive season,” said Dr Sanjay Rai, head of the department of community medicine at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
The current ICU capacity of just over 3,500 beds is likely to go up to 6,000 in the next few days. The army-run hospital in Dhaula Kuan will add 537 ICU beds, the central government hospitals 45, and 2,680 beds will be added by the Delhi government, mostly by reserving 80% ICU beds in 33 big private hospitals.
“The kind of intensity of the pandemic can be dangerous to lives, livelihood and fabric of the society. We as citizens have to play our role. If you see Europe, their beds are getting over again,” said NITI Aayog member Dr VK Paul in a press briefing on Tuesday.
He said Delhi had shown “dramatic improvement” when it came to timely hospitalisation of patients. “Initially, when the pandemic had started – till about June – nearly 60 to 70% of the deaths in hospitals happened within the first 72 hours. Half of these deaths happened within the first 24-hours of admission. In Delhi, there has been a dramatic change since. We are still monitoring the mortality as it shows the efficiency of the system – mobilising patients from home, ambulance service, access to beds, and efficiency of the treatment,” said Dr Paul.
Admitting that private hospitals had played an important role, he said that the 10 inspection committees constituted by the government were to “improve coordination”. “The teams will inspect, see if there are any gaps and address them, and wherever they need help it will be extended. They will also see whether the patients and family satisfied,” he said.