Kolkata left with less than 1,500 beds in hospitals as Covid-19 cases break new records
Just under 1,500 beds remained available in Kolkata’s private and state-run hospitals even as Covid-19 cases continued to rise in the city of about five million, according to state health department data. On Monday, 991 beds were available in around 100 private hospitals and their satellite facilities. The 12 state-run hospitals in the city had just 458 remaining beds.
“The rush in Kolkata is more than the districts. While state run-hospitals are 80% occupied, across the state the occupancy rate is around 55%. We are augmenting the infrastructure not only in the state-run hospitals but also in private hospitals,” said a health department official, requesting anonymity.
The number of available beds in state-run hospitals was around 5,600 on March 26, a day before the assembly elections kicked off in the state. West Bengal reported 646 Covid-19 cases that day. On April 26, the state recorded 1,5992 cases.
Some private hospitals, which ran out of beds, have come up with satellite facilities.
Officials said at least one out of every three private hospitals in the city and its fringes has no beds left. A few state run-hospitals are also left with no beds, they added. Around 35 top private hospitals in the city have no beds available.
The highest number of cases are being reported from Kolkata, which recorded 3,868 infections on Monday. As many as 5,321 cases were reported from the three adjacent districts of North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas, and Howrah.
The surge has led to a depletion of oxygen supply and shortage of antiviral Remdesivir and prompted the authorities to issue guidelines for their strict rationing.
“Due to the high caseload, we need to decongest the hospitals and more importantly the CCU [cardiac care unit] and HDU [high-dependency unit] beds. For this, detailed guidelines have been brought out...which patients could be kept in HDU and CCU beds and who could be referred to isolation centres from hospitals depending on the severity. Also, guidelines have been brought out over the use of oxygen and Remdesivir,” said another official, who did not wish to be named.
Hospitals have been asked to start oxygen therapy only if the saturation of a patient drops below 94%. The state government has also made it mandatory for pharmacists to sell Remdesivir to hospitals only.