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Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Delhi: 88% of ICU beds with vents full, city’s Covid hospitals face crunch

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, after a meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah Sunday, said 750 ICU beds will be available at the DRDO centre.

Written by Astha Saxena | New Delhi | November 16, 2020 1:12:44 am
The ministry on Thursday claimed that ever since Home Minister Amit Shah's meeting over Covid-19 situation in Delhi, more than 28,708 RT-PCR tests have already been conducted as of November 18.(Representational Image)

Amid a massive spike in daily cases and deaths over the past two weeks, critical care facilities for Covid-19 patients are filling up fast — 88% ICU beds with ventilators are occupied at 99 hospitals, data on the Delhi government’s corona app shows. At 62 of these hospitals, including a few government facilities, there are no ventilator beds in ICUs.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, after a meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah Sunday, said 750 ICU beds will be available at the DRDO centre. The decision was part of a series of steps promised by Shah, including adding more BiPAP machines and increasing the number of daily Covid-19 tests to between 1 lakh and 1.25 lakh.

The city Sunday recorded 3,235 fresh cases, the lowest since October 26 when 2,832 cases were seen, taking the infection tally to 4,85,405. This may be attributed to fewer tests being conducted on Diwali. The death toll increased to 7,614 with 95 more fatalities in the last 24 hours.

With 21,098 tests conducted the previous day, the positivity rate increased to 15.33%, indicating the spread of infection among the general population. This is the lowest daily testing figure since August 14, when 14,389 tests were done. The weekly cumulative growth rate has increased by 1.72% in the last one week.

As per the corona app, there are a total of 1,340 ICU ventilator beds, of which 1,178 are occupied. For instance, at Delhi government’s Covid-only GTB hospital, all 128 beds with ventilators are full. Non-ventilator ICU beds too are filling up fast, with only 261 of 2,184 empty.

According to senior health department officials, these beds help cater to patients who can be treated with oxygen therapy through high flow oxygen cannula. “Efforts are on to increase oxygen availability for patients. Most patients can be treated with oxygen therapy and may not even need to be put on a ventilator. If we have enough oxygen support for the patients, then many lives can be saved,” said an official.

The sudden spike in cases comes amid festive season and rising pollution levels. While Durga Puja ended on October 25 and Diwali on November 14, Chhath puja will be celebrated on November 20.

The national capital had recorded its highest single-day spike of 8,593 Covid-19 cases on Wednesday. On Thursday, 104 fatalities, the highest in a day in over five months, were recorded. The city had registered 93 deaths on June 16. The 10-day average death rate in the city stands at 1.23%.

A high-level committee led by NITI Aayog member Dr V K Paul in a report drafted recently had warned that Delhi needs to be prepared for about 15,000 fresh Covid cases a day, taking into account the upcoming winter season-related respiratory problems, large influx of patients from outside and festive gatherings.

Meanwhile, Gurgaon and Faridabad continued to witness a surge amid the ongoing festive season. While Faridabad added 643 new cases, Gurgaon saw 515 in the last 24 hours.

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