Over the past week, there has been a drop in the number of hospitalised Covid-19 patients, and private hospitals with waiting lists for their intensive care units now have vacant beds, and are allowing walk-in patient admissions.
Until last week, the city’s private hospitals had a waiting period of two to three days. S L Raheja Hospital in Mahim, which saw 15-20 admissions of Covid-19 patients daily until last week, saw only two on Sunday. The hospital’s 10-bedded ICU had one bed vacant as on Monday. At least 45 isolation beds were vacant in the entire hospital. “A week back, we had a waiting list for the ICU,” said medical director Dr Hiren Ambegaonkar.
Dr Om Srivastava, an infectious disease expert, said private hospitals now have enough beds in normal wards to admit Covid cases. “Now the waiting time for ICU patients is only 6-8 hours, down from 4-5 days a few days ago,” he said.
The state, and Mumbai, are seeing a consistent drop in new infections. The last one week has seen a sharp dip in new and active cases, in comparison to the previous weeks. State health officials have said the overall requirement for ventilators, oxygen beds and ICU beds has declined, and several lie vacant across state government hospitals. Data from the BMC till October 25 showed 427 vacant ICU beds across public and private hospitals – 262 of them were in private hospitals. Another 104 ventilator beds are free in private hospitals.
The BMC dashboard showed 1,148 Covid-19 patients were currently critical. However, there is still an overall 42 per cent vacancy in public and private dedicated Covid hospitals.
Bhatia Hospital, on Grant Road, has also not had a waiting list in its ICU since three days. Head intensivist Dr Gunjan Chanchalani said that from March until a few days ago, she would carry a list of patients seeking ICU admission. “We never had an empty ICU bed – within half an hour of one discharge, another patient would be there to occupy it. Now we have one to two beds empty, and can admit walk-in patients,” she said.
In Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, there has been a 25 per cent drop in hospitalisations. “We have a few ICU beds empty,” Dr Santosh Shetty, CEO of the hospital, said. “That has never been the case earlier. We always had patients queued up for admission.”
Some regions, however, continue to report a high number of active infections. The T, N and S wards, comprising eastern suburbs of Mumbai, each have over 1,000 actively infected Covid cases. Due to the high caseload in these areas, some private hospitals continue to have their ICUs running at full capacity. Fortis Hospital in Mulund has no vacant ICU beds, and gets constant inquiries for the same. Physician Dr Rahul Pandit said they have a new admission ready as soon as a bed gets vacant.
Hiranandani Hospital has 20 ICU beds, all of which are full. However, Bhavesh Phopharia, general manager at the hospital, said there has been a decline in new Covid cases in the last four days. “Today, 24 beds are vacant, which has not happened before,” he said.
In the western suburbs – the Andheri to Dahisar stretch, comprising five wards – have between 1,000 and 2,000 active infections each. The jumbo facilities in Dahisar and BKC are bearing the major load of these infections.
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