On Monday morning, only 13 (1.4%) of the 924 in the intensive care units (ICU) beds in the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) were available for patients. The situation was slightly better in the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) limits, where 84 (23%) of the 353 beds were available.
Political leaders and officials have often said citizens should learn to live with Covid-19. But they must realize that more than the fear of getting infected, people’s biggest apprehension is that may not get critical care. Six months have passed since Pune had its first Covid-19 case. It is high time that the administration addressed the shortfall in ICU beds on a war footing and ensured better coordination between agencies providing critical care.TimesView
The bed availability in the makeshift Covid jumbo hospital on the College of Engineering, Pune (CoEP) ground continued to be a cause for concern. Only 50 ICU beds were operational at the facility with zero vacancy. The jumbo hospital in Pimpri had 25 ICU beds available with zero vacancy. Pimpri Chinchwad municipal commissioner Shravan Hardikar told TOI that the situation would improve in two weeks. “We have not yet started the jumbo unit in a full-fledged manner. At present, it has 300 beds. By this weekend, the number may rise to 400. The Autocluster facility, which has around 200 beds, has started on a low-key note with around 20 patients. Once these facilities start at full capacity, we will have some cushion,” he said.
Hardikar said unavailability of beds at Sassoon General Hospital and the caseload in the PMC limits was putting pressure on hospitals in Pimpri and Chinchwad.
Despite repeated attempts, PMC commissioner Vikram Kumar, Pune divisional commissioner Saurabh Rao and district collector Rajesh Deshmukh were not available for comments. Senior PMC official Rajendra Muthe said the civic body was planning to make the remaining infrastructure at the CoEP facility in two days.
Health activist Abhijit More said, “The PMC authorities remained complacent after the jumbo unit was inaugurated at CoEP.”
(With inputs from Prasad Kulkarni)