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Monday, September 28, 2020

Mumbai: To tackle monsoon diseases, 72 hospitals, nursing homes reverted to non-Covid facility

BMC health officials said they expect leptospirosis cases to surge this month and dengue cases by September. The number of malaria cases this year are double of what Mumbai recorded until 2019.

Written by Tabassum Barnagarwala | Mumbai | Updated: August 22, 2020 11:19:17 am
bmc, mumbai rains, mumbai monsoon diseases, mumbai dengue cases, mumbai hospitals turned to non covid facility, mumbai covid-19, mumbai city news, indian express news Health workers collect swab sample in Thane. (Photo by Deepak Joshi) Health workers collect swab sample in Thane. (Photo by Deepak Joshi)

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has reverted 72 small hospitals and nursing homes in the city into non-Covid facilities and reduced at least 1,800 beds under Covid treatment to cater to rising monsoon ailments.

Of the 1,800 beds reverted back to normal beds, 400 are intensive care units. Senior civic officials said they want to keep small hospitals’ beds free for people suffering from dengue, malaria, leptospirosis so that patients have a health facility in the neighbourhood to get admitted in. The BMC was also noticing treatment difficulties to manage Covid-19 patients in smaller hospitals and nursing homes where there is limited staff and logistic issues.

“We are keeping jumbo facilities and tertiary care hospitals for Covid-19 patients. We can manage coronavirus cases with existing bed capacity. Smaller hospitals can focus on monsoon ailments,” said Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner.

Across Mumbai, 8,075 Covid-19 patients are admitted in Covid Care Centres and hospitals. In public and private hospitals, there are 13,465 beds, 9,946 are occupied while 6,519 remain vacant. That includes 231 ICU beds and 122 ventilators.

In Covid Care Centres, another 2,717 beds are free. Until July end, private hospitals contributed 4,800 beds for Covid-19 treatment. In a fortnight, that has been cut down to 3,000. Private hospitals have urged the government to reduce 80 per cent bed reservation to 50 per cent. Currently private hospitals can admit and charge their rates on 20 per cent bed strength. The remaining beds are charged at lower rates for patients referred by the government.

Dr Gautam Bhansali, consultant with Bombay hospital, said they have started admitting malaria cases that have witnessed a surge since June. “Hospitals are in discussion with the government on reservation policy,” he said.

BMC health officials said they expect leptospirosis cases to surge this month and dengue cases by September. The number of malaria cases this year are double of what Mumbai recorded until 2019. In July 2019, 438 malaria cases were recorded compared to 872 this July.

Other infections have also slightly spiked this year. From 14 leptospirosis cases in July, there were 16 in just the first two weeks of August. In the same period, hepatitis cases rose from one to five. “If needed more beds will be reserved for monsoon ailments. But for now we don’t plan to cut more Covid beds in private hospitals,” a BMC official said.

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