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Mumbai boosts hospital capacity as Covid cases rise

City authorities have been adding bed capacity even as bed occupancy crossed the 1 per cent mark.

A total of 254 out of Mumbai’s 24,600 beds are currently occupied as of June 7th (see chart 1). This means that around 10 out of every 1,000 beds is already occupied by a Covid-19 patient. Less than 4 out of every 1,000 beds were occupied a week ago. The daily case number has risen to 1,242 as of 7th June from 506 on 31st May, with a positivity rate of around 7 per cent. The total number of daily hospitalisations has risen from 17 to 74 in the same period.

An analysis of disclosures over the past week shows that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has added 128 beds in the last week. The BMC had earlier been slowly dismantling Covid-19 facilities as cases were low. Past data shows Mumbai had around 37,576 beds as of 31st January. There had been an increasing trend in bed capacity at the time because of the third wave fueled by the Omicron variant.

This fell to 35,927 beds as of February 28, and 26,228 beds as of March 31.

Oxygen beds fell from 12,060 as of January 31 to 4,699 by 31st May. The number of ventilators fell from 1,526 to 845 in the same period; even as intensive care unit (ICU) beds declined from 3,098 to 1,520 in the same period.

The data after May 31 largely shows a net addition in hospital bed capacity.

The number of intensive care unit (ICU) beds are up from 1,520 to 1,530. The number of ventilators are up from 845 to 855. Oxygen beds rose from 4,699 to 4,818. All of this has happened over the last one week (see chart 2).

The private sector hospital beds in Mumbai could be ramped up within 24-hours, says the industry. Gautam Bhansali of Bombay Hospital who is also the coordinator between the city’s private hospitals and the municipal corporation said that at the moment 2200 beds are active in the city for Covid-19 and of these hardly 14-15 are occupied.

“For example, in Bombay Hospital we have 14 beds assigned to Covid now but none are occupied. However, we have asked all private hospitals to be ready to scale up if the need arises,” Bhansali says. He claimed that beds can be scaled up from 2200 to 16000 within 24-hours

Hospitals have also done stock taking of essential Covid-19 medicines – remdesivir, monoclonal antibodies, even the medical oxygen capacities. Meetings have happened between the BMC senior officials and the hospitals last week. He also said that no massive wave is expected and hospitalisation demand is unlikely to rise steeply.

As such hospitals have also agreed to charge at government rates for 80 per cent of their Covid beds and charge the hospital rates for the remaining 20 per cent. “It’s up to the patient to decide which category of beds he wants admission in. We have supported the government for the last two years and this is the last leg perhaps. We are with them,” Bhansali said. Business Standard

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