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Delhi faces ICU bed crisis again

With resurgence in Covid cases in the national capital, the ICU bed crisis could spell doom as the Unlock 4 is already afoot, with more people out on the street and many sidelining the use of mask and social distancing.

Many private hospitals having ICU with ventilator ward facilities have already run out of beds. Of the 93 Covid-19 hospitals where ICU with ventilators facility is available, 23 showed full occupancy on the Delhi government’s Corona App till Wednesday morning.

The availability of ICU beds with ventilators in these hospitals has gone down to zero. Such hospitals include giant private and corporate names like Max, Fortis, Indraprastha Apollo, and Aakash Healthcare.

The Center-run Ram Manohar Lohia and municipality-owned Hindu Rao hospitals, which are among the 74 out of the 93, have less than five beds with ICU and ventilator facility in each.

The doctors said they have been observing this scene for the last 15-20 days since the cases in Delhi spiked after hitting a plateau. “We have been facing this scenario since mid-August,” said Avi Kumar, Senior Consultant Pulmonology at Fortis Escorts Heart Institute in Okhla.

Despite this, the majority of the influx to these hospitals have come from cities in other states. As per a rough estimate, 60-70 per cent beds have been occupied by the patients from different cities who came to Delhi for treatment. Besides, the patients are taking longer to recover, as well.

“People are coming from cities like Lucknow and Varanasi for the treatment in Delhi hospitals. They are taking more than two weeks, at least for the recovery. However, many patients develop residual symptoms, and they take an additional two weeks to cope with post-Covid trauma,” added Avi Kumar.

“A particular set of patients are taking more time to recover. These patients have pre existing co-morbidities like uncontrolled diabetes. Many patients are on high-flow oxygen for over a month,” said Akshay Budhraja, a senior pulmonologist at Aakash healthcare super speciality Hospital, Dwarka.

Budhraja also said that 30 per cent of Corona patients in his hospital are severely sick and could be put on ventilator support in the coming days. “So we will not see empty beds anytime soon,” he added.

The situation could lead to further crisis. The daily infection of Covid-19 in the national capital, which was limited to under 1,000 for a while, have started recording more than 1,700 cases in the past seven days. On two occasions, the cases crossed the 2,000-mark as well.

The doctors are alarmed by the trend and fear that if it continues, the city may face acute shortage of ICU beds again in coming days, especially for severe cases coming from the capital.

“As we are heading towards a second wave of the Covid-19, things are bound to get worse from here. The economic activities have reinstated, the metro is planned to run in the coming days, and people are back to carelessness in following safety measures. In this situation, we may face the ICU beds crisis again,” said Pankaj Solanki, who runs Dharamveer Solanki Hospital, a dedicated Covid facility in Rohini. – Times Now News