Chennai’s hospital occupancy drops noticeably over two days

Decline comes as a relief to the city, which struggled to find beds for sick patients

Published - May 28, 2021 05:19 am IST - CHENNAI

For the first time during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chennai has seen a sharp drop in the number of patients in hospitals over the past two days.

The decline in hospitalisations has come as a relief to the city, which struggled to find beds for sick patients for the best part of May.

For instance, the city had only 180 vacant intensive care unit (ICU)- and oxygen-supported beds on May 11, as per the State’s media bulletin.

On Thursday, there were 1,496 vacant ICU- and oxygen-supported beds.


The number of people occupying oxygen-supported beds, which continued to rise and reached 8,866 earlier this week, reduced by 400 on Thursday.

As a consequence of this, and with the increase in capacity, the number of vacant oxygen-supported beds rose from 800 earlier this week to 1,417 on Thursday.

The number of people in hospitals, including those occupying non-oxygen-supported beds, came down from around 14,000 in the second week of May, when cases reached their peak, to 13,307 on Thursday.

While hospitalisations in Chennai would include patients from the neighbouring districts as well, this noticeable decline can be attributed largely to the decline in cases, combined with the rising number of recoveries being reported in the city.

Sustained efforts

Meanwhile, the bed capacity in the city, particularly oxygen-supported beds, continued to rise amid sustained efforts by the administration.

From the roughly 7,500 ICU- and oxygen-supported beds available in the first week of May, the capacity of beds went up by more than 60% to 12,136 beds on Thursday.

Other indicators

The number of fresh cases being reported and the test positivity rate (TPR) also indicate that the city has possibly started to come out of the second wave.

The number of fresh cases getting reported declined sharply in the past few days. While 5,169 new cases were reported last Sunday, there were just 2,779 cases on Thursday.

Tests remained same

However, the number of tests being done in the city remained about 30,000 per day.

The TPR declined from a peak of 25.66% on May 10 to 11.9% on May 26.

Alby John Varghese, Deputy Commissioner (Health), Greater Chennai Corporation, said that while there were hopeful signs, the administration was not letting its guard down and was continuing to implement its strategy of test, track and treat to contain cases.

The city was also deploying a number of measures to rapidly increase the vaccination coverage, Mr. Varghese said.

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