The capital is likely to see a “peak” in coronavirus cases in June-July, said the doctor heading the coronavirus response committee formed by the Chief Minister on Thursday, as Delhi recorded 448 fresh cases. This is the third day in a row that Delhi has witnessed 400-plus cases.
Of the 5,980 cases in the capital, 1,431 have been reported since the beginning of this week. Sixty-six people have succumbed to the virus so far.
“The number is expected to stay between 400-500 cases a day for around the next 10 days. This is the natural course of a virus. These are the patients who were infected 10 days ago and are now developing symptoms of the disease. The number of cases is also higher as Delhi has immensely increased testing facilities across the state. The peak season in Delhi is likely to come in June-July where we might witness a surge in cases. The aim is to keep mortality rate low, which Delhi is maintaining so far,” Dr S K Sarin, who heads the Delhi government’s Covid response panel and is also the head of the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences.
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A total of 77,234 people have been tested in the city so far.
Based on the committee’s assessment of the capital’s health infrastructure, three scenarios had been envisaged: Stage 1, when the capital will start reporting 100 cases in a day; Stage 2 with 500 cases a day; and Stage 3, where 1,000 cases or more will be reported in a single day. The capital appears set to enter Stage 2, especially against the backdrop of relaxations in the lockdown.
As per the panel’s assessment, once Delhi starts recording 500 cases a day, the requirement of personal protective equipment kits will shoot up to 1,500-2,000 a day. There should be 50 beds with ventilators, 125 ICU facilities and about 325 beds with oxygen support, the committee has noted.
“As of now, we are prepared for Stage 2 as well. If there are 500 cases reported in a day, then 20% of them, that is 100 people, will need hospitalisation. So, if the trend continues for five consecutive days, 500 people will be hospitalised over a period of time. The estimates given by the committee to the government seem to be under control as of now,” said Dr Sarin.
There are 11,000 beds in government hospitals and approximately 30,000 beds in private hospitals. “What is required now is that every patient visiting a hospital must wear a mask. It is time to think about the safety of healthcare workers as well,” he said.
At present, the government has converted two of its hospitals — Lok Nayak and Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality — into Covid-designated centres. While Lok Nayak is creating a capacity of 2,000 beds, Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality has a provision for 500 beds. The Delhi government recently authorised two more private hospitals to treat coronavirus patients — Sir Ganga Ram with 120 beds, and Maha Durga Charitable Trust with 100 beds were added to the existing list of five Covid-designated facilities.
“We are upgrading the hospital and compartmentalising cabins especially for Covid patients. The central AC will be shut to stop re-circulation of the air. The hospital will have separate entry and exit and we are making provisions for fans, split AC and other facilities for patients,” said Dr J C Passey, medical director of Lok Nayak hospital.
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