Rise in COVID-19 cases strains critical care facilities in Ernakulam

A man wearing a face mask as a precaution against the coronavirus. File photo   | Photo Credit: AP

Pressure on critical care facilities for COVID-19 in Ernakulam has been rising, with around 80 out of 100 ICU beds for COVID-19 patients occupied in government hospitals.

Intensive care units for COVID-19 in the government sector are available only at the Government Medical College Hospital, PVS Hospital, and the Fort Kochi Taluk Hospital.

The number of patients requiring critical care and ICU admission has grown in the past two weeks, said Dr. Mathews Numpeli, district programme manager, National Health Mission. People who are out and about could be carrying the infection back to the elderly or those with comorbidities at home, who are likely to develop more severe symptoms of the infection, he said.

The situation is similar at private hospitals, where critical care facilities have been seeing increased admissions in the past few weeks, said Dr. T.V. Ravi, president, Indian Medical Association (IMA) Kochi chapter, and member of Kerala Private Hospitals Association.

In the private sector, 12 hospitals are empanelled under the Karunya Arogya Suraksha Padhathi (KASP) for COVID-19 treatment at rates fixed by the government. These hospitals have set aside 930 beds altogether. Around 120 patients are receiving critical care at private hospitals, Dr. Numpeli said.

The critical care facilities at PVS Hospital will be ramped up soon, while a 100-bed facility coming up at the Aluva District Hospital is expected to ease the pressure when it begins functioning in another 10 days, Dr. Numpeli said.

While the Fort Kochi Taluk Hospital has been exclusively treating COVID-19 patients so far, the possibility of opening the hospital up for non-COVID treatments will be considered depending on the caseload of the district over the next few weeks.

The district has seven domiciliary care centres functioning under various panchayats for people who might be asymptomatic but lack facilities to remain in isolation at home. These have a total capacity of 568, and 243 people are at these centres. The six first-line treatment centres (FLTCs) have a combined capacity of 598 beds, of which 235 are occupied. At four second-line treatment centres (at halls in Paravur, Mattancherry, Perumbavoor, and Kothamangalam), which have the capacity to treat 385 patients altogether, 253 patients are being treated. A total of eight government hospitals are currently treating COVID-19 patients.

Data from the Health Department weekly bulletin says Ernakulam has the highest number of new cases reported per week for the last three weeks, with 6,129 new cases recorded between January 18 and January 24.

The test positivity rate (TPR), which had been at 10.6% in the last week of December, has risen to 12.5% in the third week of January. TPR stood at 11% on Tuesday, Dr. Numpeli said.

A total of 879 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Wednesday, with 40 people testing positive in Rayamangalam, 33 in Thrikkakara, and 27 each in Kanjoor and Maradu. Six health workers and one police officer have also tested positive. With 739 recoveries, the active case load stands at 10,882. For testing, 5344 samples were sent.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2021 1:07:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/rise-in-covid-19-cases-strains-critical-care-facilities-in-ernakulam/article33680040.ece

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