Pvt hospitals: Bed shortage after asymptomatic patients occupy space
The civic body has now directed to discharge asymptomatic patients in five days if they do not show any Covid symptomsUpdated: Jul 11, 2020 16:55 IST
The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has a bed availability of 18,856, and the number of active cases at the present is 8,809 – however, there have still been incidents of private hospitals denying patients treatment due to the shortage of beds. The reason for this, according to civic officials and private hospitals is the unwillingness of Covid-19 positive patients to go to a Covid care centre and asymptomatic patients insisting on reserving hospitals beds which are reserved for those with moderate or severe symptoms.
The civic body has now directed to discharge asymptomatic patients in five days if they do not show any Covid symptoms and also deny admission to any asymptomatic patients and redirect them for home isolation.
Dr H K Sale, executive director of Noble Hospital said, “We have started encouraging asymptomatic patients to isolate themselves at home for those who can afford to be isolated. If they cannot, then redirect them to the nearest Covid care centre. We have preserved more than the promised beds for Covid-19 at regulated prices but still, there is a shortage of beds. People do not trust civic-run facilities for various reasons which is why we have to insist on home isolation. However, it is also observed in some cases that a person who is asymptomatic in the previous five days may report symptoms later like what happened in the case of Boris Johnson. So home isolation needs to be monitored properly and only then it will be successful.”
Johnson, the British Prime Minister was infected with Covid-19 and recovered after being in a critical condition for a long period. Despite being in self-isolation for a week with mild symptoms, his condition began deteriorating.
Sahyadri Hospital general manager Dr Sunil Rao said, “In the meeting, we were told that the civic body will take strict action if any hospital is found to admit asymptomatic patients who unless must be admitted only in a Covid care centre. If any asymptomatic patient is found to be admitted in any hospital during inspections then the hospital will face severe action.”
As of July 9, there are over 8,809 active patients in the city who are still undergoing treatment for the infection and there are 2,017 patients who are in home isolation.
Dr Abhijit More, Jan Arogya Morcha member said, “There is no point in admitting a patient for five days and then discharging them. Even an asymptomatic patient is a potential carrier. He may infect the vulnerable family members. People are reluctant to go to civic-run facilities and the civic body needs to work on them because it is difficult to keep track if those in home isolation are following the norms. However, it is also true that asymptomatic patients must not occupy hospital beds and must be directed towards the care centres.”
More further questioned the housing societies across the city, “Will the housing societies who do not even allow housemaids to enter the society let a positive patient live there?”
The civic body has further stated that from here onwards it would push for home isolation as a policy decision.
PMC commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad said, “As a policy we are encouraging home isolation for positive patients. Even though we have enough beds at our Covid care centres, over 900 beds in Balewadi, 300 beds in NICMAR and over 600 beds at COEP are vacant right now, the shortage of beds is for those who require oxygen or those who are critical patients because the isolation beds are occupied with asymptomatic patients. People are reluctant to go to our Covid centre because they fear they may be adversely affected by another patient and so home isolation is the solution.”
The PMC which has a low contact tracing of about only 9 .91 persons per positive patient is now further pushing for home isolation for asymptomatic patients given that they have all the required facilities for isolation.
Dr Ashok Nandapurkar, nodal officer for Covid-19 in Pune said, “The turnover time for ICU and ventilator beds is more than isolation beds. It may take 10-14 days or even more if the patient is critical and thereby resulting in a shortage of critical care units. Earlier, it was noticed that asymptomatic patients are occupying beds in hospitals but not now. We have started an indicating system for vigilance and all asymptomatic patients must be admitted to either the care centre or prefer home isolation.”