The Bihar health department on Wednesday allowed home isolation for asymptomatic patients amid a sudden spurt in Covid-19 cases, especially in Patna, Bhagalpur, East Champaran, West Champaran and Begusarai.
Cases in Bihar have jumped from 10,250 on July 1 to 20,153 on July 15. Of these, 6,482 are active cases. With 14 deaths in the last 24 hours, including that of a home department under secretary, the toll has reached 157. The recovery rate is down to 67 per cent from 78 per cent a fortnight ago.
Politicians and bureaucrats continued to test positive, including Bihar BJP president Dr Sanjay Jaiswal and Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Amir Subhani. Several departments of the state secretariat were sealed.
Covid patients reported difficulty in getting beds in hospitals and people were waiting three to four days to get tested. With Patna and Bhagalpur having 1,113 and 555 active cases, respectively, chaotic scenes were witnessed at two leading Patna hospitals — Nalanda Medical College and Hospital (NMCH) and AIIMS Patna, both Covid hospitals. Relatives of several patients made videos of AIIMS Patna allegedly not admitting patients despite availability of beds.
An AIIMS Patna doctor said: “We have 1,067 Covid beds and cannot admit all patients. Relatives have to understand that it is a Covid hospital.”
NMCH Medical Superintendent Dr N K Singh told The Indian Express: “We have about 200 spare beds from our total capacity of 447 beds, but we have been receiving several patients now, mostly referral cases from district hospitals. In a pandemic, we are trying to rise to the challenge. The number of deaths has been going up in recent days.”
The state’s main concern is that 10-11 per cent of samples are testing positive as against 5-7 per cent until a fortnight ago.
Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey said he had reviewed the situation on increasing isolation beds and oxygen cylinders. The health department has issued an order for home isolation for asymptomatic cases.
Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Yadav accused NDA leaders of spreading the coronavirus by not following safety norms.
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