Published on April 20, 2021

AHMEDABAD: On Monday, Gujarat added yet another record high of 11,403 Covid-19 cases and 117 deaths. The flood of cases on a daily basis has manifested in queues which are getting longer outside designated Covid-19 hospitals across the state.

Shukla family from Vastrapur was part of a similar queue outside the 1,200-bed Covid-19 facility in the Civil Hospital premises. They brought their 35-year-old son in a car and the hospital had to provide him an oxygen cylinder to sustain his respiration till he could be admitted. Shuklas were one of the scores of families who desperately waited for their turn to be given one elusive bed with oxygen.

Experts said that the widening mismatch between people falling ill and those recovering has triggered a crisis of hospital beds with oxygen with almost all government and private facilities conceding they are bursting at the seams with the overload of patients.

By Monday evening, 88% of the beds across Gujarat were reported occupied. In Ahmedabad, out of 5,578 beds in 160-odd hospitals, 97% were occupied with only five beds available in a ventilator or ICU. Even the MediCity had 2,300-plus patients, indicating 98% occupancy with no ICU or ventilator available.

Stable patients must vacate beds

Healthcare experts said that if cases continue at this rate, no matter how many beds added on a war footing would not suffice. “For every 100 patients admitted, only 38 got discharged in the past seven days. If we create 1,000 more beds, it would again be filled up in no time. The need of the hour is to focus more on identifying cases at the earliest, strengthening home care to prevent patients from deterioration,” said a public health expert.

Dr Anish Chandarana, vice-president of Ahmedabad Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (AHNA), said that for the past 5-6 days they have started discharging patients on the fifth or sixth day after giving them a full course of Remdesivir and stabilizing their oxygen level.

“We request stable patients to vacate the bed to facilitate treatment of more severe patients. We assure that they would be provided home care and now they can get well with minimal medical intervention,” he said. “In 90% cases, patients and relatives do comply.”

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