The positivity average of Covid-19 cases in Bihar has seen a sharp drop in August, but a rise in the number of coronavirus-related deaths has become a cause of concern for the state Health Department.
Bihar has seen a massive jump in daily testing — from 15,000-odd tests per day in the last week of July to more than one lakh tests per day in August. This has resulted in the positivity average for August so far is 4.3 per cent, in stark contrast with the positivity average for July of 12.8 per cent.
Health Department principal secretary Pratyaya Amrit said, “We hope the positivity (rate) goes further down in the coming days… We are appointing doctors and nurses for better care. We have already appointed nodal officers at Nalanda Medical College and Hospital (NMCH) and Patna Medical College and Hospital.”
However, of the 558 Covid-19 deaths in the state so far, 260 deaths have been reported since August 1. The maximum number of deaths have been reported from dedicated Covid hospitals —NMCH and AIIMS, Patna.
Indian Medical Association (Bihar chapter) senior vice president Dr Ajay Kumar told The Indian Express, “The increasing number of Covid-19 deaths is not only because of co-morbid conditions of patients, it also exposes Bihar’s healthcare system. It also tells how district hospitals are not at all equipped to deal with critical cases and how there has been too much pressure on AIIMS, Patna. NMCH, otherwise a Covid hospital, does not look fully equipped to deal with critical cases.”
Kumar said unless there were ventilator-equipped ICUs in districts with quality doctors, critical patients had to be rushed to Patna hospitals.
“Covid-19 has exposed healthcare system at every level. It is surprising to see that most district hospitals still do not have ventilators,” he said, adding that it was some relief that the coronavirus curve looks to flatten in Bihar. “But let us watch it till full August to be definitive about the trend”, he said.
A senior NMCH doctor said, “While co-morbidity is surely an obvious reason of death, in most cases, patients here are brought only after their conditions deteriorated.”
Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pande said efforts were being made to make ICUs at districts hospitals fully functional so that there was less of a rush at Patna hospitals.
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