As cases soar, ventilator beds go scarce in Delhi

A passenger wearing a PPE suit waiting for a train at the New Delhi railway station on Monday.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Delhi, which currently has the second highest number of new COVID-19 cases in the country and the third highest number of virus-related deaths according to the data released by the Union Health Ministry on Monday, is now seeing an increased pressure on its healthcare infrastructure.

Several private hospitals have indicated that they have near 100% occupancy of ICU beds with ventilators and only a few government hospitals are showing availability of beds with ventilator support for COVID-19 patients.

The Delhi government’s mobile app — Delhi Corona — providing COVID-related information shows that of the 1,244 ICU beds with ventilators, 845 are occupied currently (Monday evening).

According to Delhi government data, 604 of the 1,927 COVID ICU beds without ventilators are vacant and 9,076 of the 15,795 COVID beds are currently available. Private hospitals, including Max Healthcare, Fortis, Apollo and Batra, have indicated a fast growing occupancy of ICU beds with ventilators in their facilities, while the government hospitals are facing an onslaught of patients with COVID as well as seasonal ailments.

‘Increase in bed strength’

Speaking to The Hindu about the situation, a Delhi government spokesperson said: “The city government is closely monitoring the situation and will increase the total bed strength to above 20,000 in about two weeks time. The increase will be in both government and private hospitals. But the government is not planning to impose any lockdown.”

Over the past week, Delhi has been recording over 5,000 COVID cases daily. The Delhi government had previously attributed the spike in COVID cases to “aggressive contact tracing”.

Delhi’s health infrastructure caters not just to people of the city but also those from the neighbouring States of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, among others.

Delhi had been cautioned at the beginning of the festival season by a high-level expert committee led by NITI Aayog member V.K. Paul about the need to be prepared to cushion the impact of a possible spike in respiratory illnesses during the winter season.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 3:53:53 AM |

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