Isolation beds for Covid-19 patients in Mumbai have dropped by 20.2 per cent drop over the last one month despite an increase in daily infection cases. With more people from high-rises testing positive and seeking medical care, the city is also facing a shortage of intensive care units (ICUs), especially in the private sector.
On August 15, the city had 20,048 isolation beds across Covid Care Centres, jumbo facilities, and dedicated Covid-19 hospitals, data accessed from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) showed.
On September 15, the civic data revealed, the total beds stood at 15,992 — a decrease of 20.2 per cent.
During the corresponding period, the number of ICU beds, too, went down by 22 per cent, from 1,836 to 1,418, and oxygen-equipped beds by 25 per cent, from 10,510 to 7,876. In contrast, active infection cases almost doubled, from 17,581 patients to 31,123, and so did the cases per day, from 1,000-1,200 per day to 2,000-2,200 now.
The drop in number of beds and a sudden rise in Covid-19 cases post Ganpati festivities have together burdened the existing system. While there are still beds for mildly to moderately ill patients, fewer beds are available for seriously ill ones. From a month ago, when 14 per cent ventilators were free, its availability has dropped to six per cent now. The total number ventilators have also reduced from 1,095 to 959.
Civic officials said the reason for drop in number of beds was the constant decline in new infection cases between July and August and a rise in monsoon-related ailments. However, with a ‘second wave’ of Covid-19 cases likely, BMC is now in the process of roping in 27 nursing homes that it had been converted into non-Covid facilities last month.
Suresh Kakani, Additional Municipal Commissioner, said a video-meeting was held with all 27 nursing homes on Tuesday. “We have asked these nursing homes to ensure they have ICUs, ventilators, oxygen facility and doctor of medicine on their roll. If a patient becomes critical, the hospitals will have to refer them to higher centre,” Kakani said.
According to BMC officials, 80 per cent of beds in these 27 private nursing homes will be reserved for government-referred patients who will be charged at the rate fixed by the government. With this, 1,438 beds with 151 ICUs will be re-added to serve Covid-19 patients. A ward officer, however, said with Covid-19 cases rising even the additional beds may even fall short if patients were not counselled to seek admission at government centres.
At T ward (Mulund), where more than 100 new cases are recorded every day, Assistant Commissioner Kishor Gandhi said three nursing homes and hospitals — Aashirwad, Apex and Platinum hospitals — have been re-converted into dedicated Covid-19 hospitals. “Patients prefer private hospitals for treatment. If they have no option left, then they opt for jumbo facility in Mulund,” Gandhi said.
Medical Officer Dr Jeetendra Jadhav of L ward (Kurla), said 65 additional isolation beds, including ICUs, will be added to cater to patients. “We had only Kohinoor hospital in the private sector. Now, we have asked for Fauzia hospital to re-convert into a Covid-19 treatment centre to provide more options for private treatment,” Jadhav said.
Prashant Sapkale, Assistant Commissioner in K East (Andheri east), which is also recording more than 100 new cases every day, said patients prefer hospitals to smaller set-ups. “In our ward, we have Seven Hills, Holy Spirit and Jogeshwari Trauma Centre where people are willing to get admitted,” he said.
30 pvt doctors to consult in jumbo Covid facilities
Mumbai: Thirty private doctors from top hospitals in Mumbai are set to consult in the city’s six jumbo Covid facilities. They will consult with on-duty doctors over phone and visit the facility in case of serious patients.
These doctors include Dr Rahul Pandit from Fortis hospital, Dr Tanu Singhal and Dr Vatsal Kothari from Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani hospital, Dr Zarir Udwadia and Dr Hemant Thacker from Breach Candy hospital, Dr Farhad Kapadia from Hinduja hospital, and several others from Bhatia, Nanavati, Surana, Bombay, Jaslok and Lilavati hospitals.
“This will help change perception of public about jumbo facilities. Patients are unwilling to go to these facilities due to trust issues. If they know that the doctors are the same in private and government hospitals, they will be ready to get treated in jumbo facilities,” said Dr Gautam Bhansali, consultant with Bombay Hospital. ENS
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