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Rising Covid cases fill up ventilator beds, but here’s why doctors say Delhi needn’t worry yet

Of 79 private hospitals in Delhi, ventilator beds at 59 of them are either all occupied or nearly so. Delhi govt, though, is not too worried since most beds in govt hospitals are still available.

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New Delhi: As Delhi grapples with rising cases of Covid-19, government data indicates that almost half of the ventilator beds available are occupied, and private hospitals, especially, are running out of them.

According to data released by the Delhi government, of the 79 private hospitals in Delhi with ventilator support, 59 are either at full capacity or on the verge of reaching full capacity.

A total of 1,216 ventilator beds are available in the national capital — 702 of these are in government hospitals (both central and Delhi government) and 514 are in private hospitals.

Of the 514 in private hospitals, 462 are occupied, according to the latest data displayed on the ‘Delhi Corona’ app, the government’s official mobile application for Covid updates.

ThePrint spoke to several doctors in the city who said that while ventilator occupancies reflect rising cases in the capital, the situation is under control as the healthcare system is equipped to deal with the challenge.

Doctors at private hospitals also noted that most of the beds are occupied by out-of-state patients and not those from Delhi.

“Our ventilator beds are full but 70 per cent of the occupants are from other states. Delhi’s borders are fully open so people from neighbouring states from Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and even as far as Madhya Pradesh are coming for treatment,” said Dr Dhiraj Malik, medical superintendent, Saroj Super Speciality Hospital.

The Delhi government is also not very worried about the development, as beds in several government hospitals are still available and deaths have also not increased.

“While cases are increasing and private hospitals have reported high ventilator bed occupancy, deaths have not increased in Delhi which is encouraging,” Dr Nutan Mundeja, director of General Health Services under the city government, told ThePrint.

The national capital recorded a surge in cases in the past week, with daily cases touching 2,914 Friday — the highest in over two months.

So far, Delhi has recorded a total of 1,85,220 cases of coronavirus with 4,513 deaths and 1,61,865 recoveries.

Also read: 1 in 10 pregnant women could have Covid and are likely to be asymptomatic, finds study

Private hospitals fill up, but ventilator beds in govt hospitals free

A total of 93 hospitals offer ventilator support in Delhi and of these, 79 are private hospitals, nine are run by the central government while the remaining five are under the Delhi government.

Ventilator beds in 24×7 private hospitals such as Max Smart in Saket, Max Hospital in Patparganj, Indraprastha Apollo and Saroj Super Speciality Hospital have no vacant ventilator beds, according to the Delhi government app.

Meanwhile, the ventilator support in 27 private hospitals, including Max Super Speciality Hospital Saket and Sir Gangaram Kolmet Hospital, are almost at full capacity.

According to Dr Malik, in the past two weeks, at least 20-25 per cent of the total patients that came in for Covid treatment have required ventilator support.

Government hospitals, however, have not even reached half their capacity. Therefore, doctors say there’s no cause for concern since there are enough beds in the event of a further surge.

“The admissions have increased because cases are more now in comparison to July but we have enough beds and we are ready for the challenge,” said Dr B.L. Sherwal, director, Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital, which is run by the Delhi government.

Some doctors also noted that a rise in ventilator occupancy is also because only serious cases are coming to hospitals.

“The rise in ventilator occupancy is natural as cases are increasing in Delhi. But the high ventilator occupancy shows that only the serious cases are coming to hospitals, i.e cases with respiratory issues and other co-morbidities. Most cases are mild and are being advised home isolation,” said Dr S.P. Byotra, chairman, Department of Medicine at Sir Gangaram Hospital.

Also read: AIIMS halts OPD admissions once again for 2 weeks, cites surge in Covid, emergency patients

Surge in cases

As reported earlier by ThePrint, Delhi has been witnessing an upward trend in daily cases after a month-long decline.

The daily cases in the capital touched an almost two month-high of 2,914 Saturday. The last time daily cases had crossed the 2,900-mark was on 27 July, when 2,948 daily cases were recorded.

In the last week of August, Delhi recorded 1,061 (24 August), 1,544 (25 August), 1,693 (26 August), 1,840 (27 August), 1,808 (28 August), 1954 (29 August), 2,024 (30 August), 1,358 (31 August) cases daily.

Also read: Delhi testing rate drops 5 days after CM Kejriwal promises to double it, positivity climbs


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