DEPUTY CHIEF Minister and state Health Minister Nitin Patel admitted Sunday there was a shortage of beds at government hospitals with the rate of rise of patients infected by the coronavirus disease overtaking the new arrangements made by the state government.
The state government and the health department authorities are making every arrangement to implement the decisions taken at the core-group meetings, under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, across the state, Patel said.
“In Gujarat, more than 9,000 positive patients are reported in a day and these numbers are constantly rising every day. In the first peak, we would see cases only in some districts and cities, but in the second peak, not a single taluka has been spared and the infection is increasing at a high rate across all districts. But the rate at which number of patients are rising, I can say that against all the infrastructure we are raising, the number of patients is rising at a far higher rate. Whatever new infrastructure, systems, beds, etc we are organising, the demand is rising exponentially,” the Dy CM said.
In the first wave, he said, patients were less critical and most required no oxygen. “Against this, the second wave is very dangerous, as it (the infection) affects the lungs directly,” Patel said. He urged patients to seek hospitalisation only if their oxygen saturation level dropped below 95.
“Still there are 300-400 waiting calls at the 108 ambulance emergency service. So, as soon as the beds are vacated, they (these patients) will be admitted to private, corporation-run and government hospitals. I request relatives to treat patients and seek admission only if oxygen levels fall below 95, else (they should) take the help of Sanjivani Home Care facility. Beds are filled at all Covid-19 hospitals, be it government, private or corporation-run in Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar or any other city in the state… The possibility of providing beds to all patients is very less, so only critical patients should be taken to the hospitals,” the Dy CM said.
Gujarat reported 10,340 coronavirus cases and 110 deaths on Sunday, its highest single-day spike and toll since the pandemic began last year. The CM had Saturday called the Covid-19 situation in the state “delicate” and said 8,000-10,000 more beds would be added for treatment of such patients in the next 15 days.
On Sunday, Patel announced that 270 beds for Covid-19 treatment had been added to the hospitals on the Medicity campus in Ahmedabad. Of these, 40 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds each have been added to the four new wards of the Resident Doctors’ Hostel of U N Mehta Hospital, while 80 others at the Institute of Kidney Diseases and Research Centre.
“All arrangements are complete. From Sunday afternoon, 108 ambulance service has been instructed to shift patients in waiting to these 160 beds (at U N Mehta Hospital),” Patel told media persons following an inspection of the new arrangements and a review meet with senior officials at U N Mehta Hospital.
Another 30 beds would be created at the Cancer Hospital from Monday evening, while 100 beds would also be added to the existing Covid-19 designated hospital at the Kidney Hospital at Manjushree Mill Campus soon.
Referring to the high patient load on the government and private hospitals, Patel said over the last 10-12 days, the number of Covid-19 patients was increasing at a “very high rate, not sparing even the smaller towns and talukas”.
“Yesterday, we (the CM and the Dy CM) visited Jamnagar and Bhuj. In both the districts, patients are increasing at a very high pace that we are finding space to be less across big and old hospitals and medical colleges. We are making bed arrangements for patients wherever possible,” he added.
Patel said normally 6,000-8,000 calls were received by the 108 ambulance emergency services. “But this has increased exponentially (now)… The service is burdened with emergency calls received for Covid-19 admission as well as for other trauma patients, including road accident, heart attack and other illnesses. We have increased lines and operators but despite this we are receiving several calls (each day),” he said.
In the last 22 hours, nearly 400 patients have been admitted to the 1,200-bed Covid hospital in Ahmedabad, while 30 ambulances with patients were still in queue, Patel said. “All attempts are being made to save patients’ lives… We have oxygen facility with the 108 ambulance service. So, till the time we take them (the patients) from ambulance for admission, we can provide them oxygen and treat them for 5-6 hours,” he said.
The Minister, however, stated the state has “ample oxygen supply” and there was “no shortage”, while there was also a “good supply of Remdesivir”.