March 21, 2021 4:30:00 am
Citing a “steep increase in hospitalisation of Covid-19 patients” the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) has issued a notification directing all hospitals in the city to postpone elective surgeries from March 22 to April 10 to mitigate the risk of cross-infection of patients.
The VMC has also scaled up capacity in Covid hospitals as bed occupancy in hospitals Saturday touched 2,780 – the highest since the city’s Covid-19 peak on September 13 with 3,240 beds.
In its notification, the civic body directs hospitals, already empanelled for Covid-19 treatment, to explore ways to augment their capacity and ensure patients eligible for home-based Covid care are not “needlessly admitted”.
“All hospitals who are not yet empanelled, should do so as Covid health centres or dedicated Covid hospitals after fulfilling required compliances within the next five days until March 25,” the notification said.
The VMC had reduced the number of beds owing to declining numbers of cases, but began witnessing a steady rise from February 13, coinciding with the hectic election campaigns for the local body polls held on February 21 and 28. The official graph of Vadodara’s daily hospital admissions indicated, Covid hospitalisation rose from 515 on February 13 — the lowest since the outbreak last year — to 1,556 on March 15.
In a week since, the hospitalisation has touched 2,780 on Saturday following a grand Maha Shiv Ratri celebration on March 11 when Vadodara saw hundreds take part in the annual procession of Shivji ki Savari sans Covid-19 protocols. Seven elected representatives of the ruling party, who took part in the celebrations, have also tested positive since.
“If one follows the incubation period of the virus, the graph of hospitalisation is a clear indicator that every time there has been a major festival or gathering, the load on hospitals has increased. Between November 20 and 24, following Diwali last year, too, the hospitalisation reached 2,212 (from 1,272 admissions in November first week). Similarly, with the unrestricted movement, gatherings and interactions during the election campaign and then the religious festivals, there has been a sharp rise in the numbers,” a health official said.
On Saturday, VMC recorded 108 positive cases taking to total number of cases to 25,836. Of 654 active cases, 117 are on oxygen supply, and 51 on ventilator and BiPAP support, official data stated. Vadodara has 5,147 beds for Covid patients, of which 2,792 were occupied as of Saturday.
Officer on special duty Vinod Rao said, “Our prompt action in last two weeks to increase the capacity of beds from 2,460 on March 4 to 5,147 on March 20 has helped keep the city prepared. We will ramp up the facilities, if needed, in the coming days.”
Meanwhile, laboratories that have license to conduct RT-PCR tests have been also witnessing long queues for over 24 hours, officials said. A popular private laboratory in the city, not wishing to come on record, said the only way out was to promote Rapid Antigen Tests for those with prominent symptoms.
Vadodara medical officer (health) Dr Devesh Patel said, “The hospitalisation figures include suspected patients who are awaiting test reports and those from outside the district. It is true that the queues for RT-PCR tests are long. It is because each cycle of the tests takes about six to eight hours and a laboratory can mostly do only three cycles in 24 hours, that is if the machines are not given any rest.”
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