The total number of Covid cases in Mumbai is 3.55 lakh, of which 20,140 are active.
On Friday, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal took a call to increase 2,400 beds in private hospitals as hospitalisations have increased. He directed ward officers to double daily Covid-19 tests from 25,000 to 50,000 in two days and vaccinate at least a lakh a day, up from the current coverage of 40,000.
The last highest case count in Mumbai was 2,848 cases on October 7. Daily fatalities in that period ranged between 40-50, and they came down to 10 on Friday. Fatality rate has reduced from 1.4 to 0.3 per cent. Rate of critical patients has reduced from 4.2 to 2.9 per cent of active cases between October till now. Civic officials said there is no need to panic and enough beds remain available. The death toll, however, is expected to rise in coming days as cases mount further.
“We have asked all private hospitals to increase isolation beds. We want to be fully prepared, although right now many beds are vacant,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani. He added that beds are also being added to Covid Care Centres (CCC).
Officials expect cases to surge further and cross 5,000 in coming days. The positivity rate has jumped from 5.2 to 12.4 per cent in a fortnight, and in the same period isolation bed occupancy rose from 40 to 50 per cent across the city.
Currently, private hospitals contribute 2,419 beds for Covid-19 treatment, which includes 552 ICUs and 336 ventilators. Close to 60 per cent of ICUs and ventilators in private hospitals are full. In the government sector, there are 975 ICUs of which 60 per cent are full, and there are 625 ventilators of which 70 per cent are full.
“Last April till August we had 4,844 beds from private sector for Covid treatment. We plan to scale back to that count,” Kakani said.
BMC directed private and government hospitals to stop admitting asymptomatic patients and admit only those referred from the BMC war room unless it is an emergency Covid-19 case.
Dr Gautam Bhansali, consultant physician with Bombay hospital, said they had a detailed discussion with BMC on Friday and hospitals have agreed to continue charging as per government rates for 80 per cent of their isolation beds. “We will be increasing isolation beds in coming days. There are clear directions to only admit emergency cases directly. Rest moderately or mildly ill patients will be admitted through BMC ward offices,” he said.
“In view of daily increase in the number of cases, the next four to six weeks will be very important,” Chahal said. “It is important to have a sufficient number of beds available for patients with mild, moderate and severe symptoms. Given this, the civic body as well as all government and private hospitals in Mumbai must increase the bed capacity.” He has asked private hospitals to increase the bed strength in the next 48 hours.
“Patients in need of intensive care should be admitted on a walk-in basis. However, such patients should be reported to the Ward War Room immediately,” read the directions from the civic body.
BMC auditors will begin sitting in private hospitals to study hospital bills, a practice that started last year to prevent over-charging. Chahal asked private hospitals to discontinue the practice of insisting on an advance from patients before admission. Two civic body auditors will be sent to each of the private hospitals in the city to verify complaints of over-charging.
Asymptomatic patients in residential buildings will have to opt for home isolation while asymptomatic or mildly ill cases from slums and chawls will be moved to CCC.
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