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Saturday, December 05, 2020

Scramble for beds as Delhi marks highest single-day spike for any city: 6,725 cases

The city saw over 5,000 cases on almost all days over the past week, barring Monday, with the spike putting enormous strain on its private healthcare system.

Written by Astha Saxena | New Delhi | Updated: November 4, 2020 7:57:22 am
At 2,612, Covid death toll in Delhi highest in NovemberA total of 1.78 lakh cases were seen in November. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

Delhi reported 6,725 Covid cases Tuesday, the highest single-day spike for any city in the country so far, taking the total number of cases in the National Capital to 4,03,096. Prior to this, Pune had recorded 5,939 cases in a day on September 10.

The previous highest single-day spike in Delhi was 5,891 cases last Friday. The city saw over 5,000 cases on almost all days over the past week, barring Monday, with the spike putting enormous strain on its private healthcare system. The demand for Covid beds in private hospitals has gone up — of the 15,781 earmarked beds, 6,888 (almost 44%) are occupied.

While Covid beds are available in government hospitals, many top private hospitals have observed a rise in demand over the last 10 days. Several small nursing homes with a bed capacity of 30 or more have started to run full, with no Covid beds available, said officials.

“There has been a sudden rise in demand for Covid beds over the last one week. We are trying to accommodate every patient but it is getting difficult. Earlier, patients from neighbouring states were reaching out to us; this time, it’s the people of Delhi who are facing problems,” said Dr D S Rana, board chairman, Sir Ganga Ram hospital.

There are 162 Covid beds at Sir Ganga Ram, out of which 22 are lying vacant, and 120 beds at Sir Ganga Ram City hospital, out of which three are vacant. At Max Saket, only 19 out of 250 Covid beds are available.

Experts attribute the rise to the festival season. Dr Rajesh Chawla, senior consultant, Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Apollo Hospitals said: “We have a waiting list and unfortunately, there are no ICU Covid beds available. Even the need for non-ICU beds has gone up. The changed behaviour among the community towards the disease is one of the main reasons behind the spike.”

Government facilities, such as AIIMS, Lok Nayak, GTB and Safdarjung hospitals, are better placed. Addressing a press conference Tuesday, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that a daily review of beds in central government hospitals is being done.

Out of 2,010 beds in Lok Nayak Hospital, the largest dedicated Covid facility in the city, 1,358 are vacant. At AIIMS, 53 of 265 beds are available and at Safdarjung, 147 of 319 beds are vacant.

Bhushan said Delhi has a system where details of available beds are available in the public domain. “As far as ventilators are concerned, we have provided a sufficient number to Delhi. If there is any demand in future, we would be in a position to provide additional ventilators, too,” he said.

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