New Delhi: Covid-19 bed occupancy and ventilator requirement in Delhi government and private hospitals have witnessed a sharp rise in the past fortnight. With the number of daily new cases rising due to multiple factors, including season change, high pollution and reckless behaviour by citizens, nearly 40% of the Covid beds and 60% of the ventilators are currently in use.
On October 13, 587 ventilators and 616 ICU beds without ventilators were occupied. These had increased to 780 and 1,190, respectively, on October 29. However, because more than 4,000 people recover daily and many of the new cases are advised home isolation, there is no immediate increase in the strain on the Covid care infrastructure.
The occupancy in private hospitals is higher than in government hospitals. According to Covid beds occupancy status on a Delhi government website, 15,760 beds are kept aside for Covid in in all the hospitals, of which 6,242 are currently occupied. The website, delhifightscorona.in, is dynamic and the occupancy status of beds and ventilators changes numerous times in a day.
In Lok Nayak Hospital, Delhi government’s largest dedicated Covid facility, 1,435 of the 2,010 reserved beds were vacant on Friday evening, while in GTB, 1,300 of the 1,500 lay unoccupied. Among private facilities, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals had 148 of its 300 Covid beds free, though only 24 out of 250 beds were vacant in Max Saket.
More than 60% of the available ventilators in Delhi were occupied on Friday. Of the 1,244 ventilators in city hospitals, 787 were in use, though unevenly. So, while Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital had 198 unused ventilators among 200 there only 14 were not in use among the 200 at Lok Nayak Hospital.
These figures make it clear that Despite the spike in cases, there is no immediate crisis of beds in Delhi and no major strain on the existing health infrastructure. While around 4,000 Covid-positive people are asked to go into home quarantine, over 16,000 Covid beds in hospitals and care centres are available for use.
Dr Mahesh Verma, member of Delhi government’s Covid experts panel, said. “We see that 15%-20% of Covid-positive people have moderate to severe symptoms. Only 5%-7% require hospitalisation due to comorbidities or advanced age. Hospitals have upgraded a large number of beds in general wards to oxygenated beds because many patients need oxygen but are not critical enough to be shifted to the ICU or ventilator beds.”
A health department official said on Friday that there was no plan at present to associated hotels and banquet halls with Covid hospitals. Another official said any additional beds required can be set up in central and Delhi government hospitals or at Commonwealth Games Village.