March 23, 2021 6:33:37 am
Gujarat reported the highest Covid-19 cases in a single day at 1,640 since the pandemic set in a year ago, with Ahmedabad seeing 481 positive cases, even as Monday saw a spike in the occupancy of private beds in the city. On November 27, last year the state had reported 1,607 cases, which was the highest in one day, so far.
Ahmedabad saw bed occupancy double over the last week, with a maximum increase noted in the high dependency unit (HDU) and intensive care unit (ICU) beds, health officials said. Private hospitals, offering Covid-19 treatment, have also gone up from 63 to 70 on Monday, taking the total capacity of beds up from nearly 2,200 to 2,631 in the city.
In Vadodara, where hospitals have recorded a jump of 480 admissions for Covid-19 cases since Saturday, civic authorities have issued a direction to empanelled hospitals Monday making it mandatory for hospitals to “prudently” admit patients in their facilities and promote home-based care for others.
On Monday, the state also recorded four deaths, two of which were in Ahmedabad as the total number of cases went up to 2,87,903 and fatalities to 4,468. Of 7,847 active cases across the state, 73 are on ventilator support while the remaining 7,774 are stable, health officials said.
From nearly 20 per cent recorded on March 15, the overall occupancy of private beds in Ahmedabad jumped to 39 per cent Monday, officials said. Of the 778 HDU beds in 63 private hospitals treating Covid-19 patients, 316 were found occupied (41 per cent), while of the 357 ICU beds without a ventilator, 145 were occupied (14 per cent).
From March 19, private hospitals have also resumed home care services, where patients under home isolation can avail consultation and treatment.
According to official data, the increase in bed occupancy rate has increased since last week. As of March 3, of the total 2,278 beds, only 9 per cent were occupied, with the highest — 12 per cent occupancy of HDU beds in private hospitals and 9 per cent of ICU beds with ventilators. While occupancy rate remained the same on the next day, it increased to 11 per cent on March 5, with the highest increase occupancy of HDU beds. Of the total 726 HDU beds in 63 private hospitals, 99 were occupied — 14 per cent occupancy rate.
On March 7, the overall occupancy increased to 12 per cent followed by nearly 20 per cent on March 15. This jumped to 35 per cent on March 21, and 39 per cent on Monday.
While, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has declined to requisition private hospitals for civic body-referred patients, a service that was operational till January, authorities claim the option is still open.
“We do not require AMC-requisitioned hospitals at the moment. However, that option is still open and would be reviewed as and when required. At the moment, more private hospitals have been designated as Covid-19 hospitals,” Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner Mukesh Kumar told The Indian Express.
“Though mild to moderate cases are being reported from the city, but the surge is huge lately,” Ahmedabad Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (AHNA) president Dr Bharat Gadhavi said.
Meanwhile, to meet the pressure of the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the city, the Vadodara administration has reached out to the 12 functional nursing colleges in Vadodara city to provide manpower to assist in Covid-19 duties in hospitals for a second time.
On Monday, in a meeting chaired by Officer on Special Duty (OSD) Vinod Rao, the colleges pledged to provide around 475 nursing staff to assist in Covid-19 duties in various government and private hospitals across the city, which are being restructured as Covid care centres after being dismantled following a decline in infections.
The administration has also sought that about 450 additional nursing staff should be put on standby, should a need arise to press them into action. Termed as ‘Nursing Sahayaks’, the final-year students of the colleges, had been roped in last year during the peak of the pandemic to lend a helping hand to hospitals.
Vadodara, which recorded 118 new cases Monday, has 5,804 dedicated beds for Covid-19 patients, of which 1,043 are ICU beds and 2,166 are with a simple oxygen supply. The city also has 2,595 general beds for Covid care for patients with mild symptoms. Of the total, 3,260 beds are currently occupied — the occupancy was 2,780 on Saturday. The increase of 480 admissions in the last two days has the administration seeking more beds.
On Monday, Rao also issued a direction to empanelled hospitals making it mandatory for hospitals to “prudently” admit patients in their facilities. An earlier notice of the VMC, under The Disaster Management Act, 2005, had made it necessary for hospitals to only admit those Covid-19 patients who require hospitalisation, to promote home-based care for others. Empanelled Covid-19 private hospitals have also been asked to coordinate within and between clusters created to ensure smooth management, in case of shortage of beds.
“If a hospital does not have vacant beds, it can coordinate with any other hospital within the cluster for admission of the patient. If no hospital within the cluster has vacant beds, the hospital can then coordinate with hospitals in other clusters. And if there is no bed available in any of the clusters, the four hospitals, where beds have been increased, must be approached,” the notice states. The four hospitals are Dhiraj Hospital and Parul Sevashram, both located in Waghodia and having a capacity of 350 and 150 beds, respectively, for Covid-19 patients, besides New Life Hospital on Ajwa Road and Matrushri Dhavalba Ayurvedic hospital in Varnama with a capacity of 100 beds each.
JP Patel, the Assistant Commissioner of Food and Drugs Control Administration (FDCA), has been appointed to oversee the supply of uninterrupted oxygen, medicines, injections and medical supplies at all government and private hospitals.
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