The state government has asked the Centre to provide at least 2,000 more ventilators to prepare for a spike in cases. It has also started reaching out to suppliers for oxygen cylinders to keep a buffer stock ready.
At 5,649, the state has maximum number of the infected in India. Of them, at least five per cent require intensive care support and two per cent remain critical. If the number of cases continue to surge, the number of intensive care beds and ventilators may fall short.
According to state public health department data, there are 4,000 intensive care beds at state government hospitals and 12,000 isolation beds. State officials said the Centre has asked them to analyse the growing trend of cases and predict an estimate to prepare for adequate beds.
“But no prediction model will be accurate. About four to five days ago, Maharashtra had a doubling rate of four days. As on today, it is seven days,” a senior health official said.
Doubling rate is a measure of how many days it takes for the number of cases to double. The first COVID-19 case in Maharashtra was confirmed on March 9. It took 15 days for the count to increase to 100 on March 24. The total cases doubled to 200 within five days on March 29. Four days later, by April 2, the cases doubled again to 423.
The pattern has continued. By April 6, 868 cases were recorded. The trend has slowed somewhat after April 15. While 2,916 cases were recorded on April 15, they doubled a week later by Wednesday, reaching 5,694.
Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope said that people did not have to fear the assumptions that have pointed to a spurt in the number of cases. “There is a fear that the numbers are drastically going to increase by a certain date. These projections are being made through mathematical models. There is a science behind these models for sure but these models also work on certain assumptions, including the fact that the doubling rate will remain static at 3.8. However, this is not the case,” he added.
Tope said that the state’s doubling rate now stood at 7, which was far better than the previous numbers of two and three. He said that the state had 1.55 lakh isolation beds and was testing nearly 7,000 individuals each day.
Of the total cases, state officials said only 20 per cent require isolation beds. Maharashtra has 120 dedicated COVID-19 hospitals to tackle isolation patients who need critical care, and another 180 health facilities to manage mild and st able patients. The remaining 80 per cent will be handled by care centres set up at hotels, guesthouses, lodges, hostels and schools.
Officials said that as part of the treatment protocol, an increase in para medical staff and procurement of pulse oximeter is also underway.
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