Published on May 18, 2021
AHMEDABAD: Gujarat on Monday added 7,135 new positive patients, 13% fall in 24 hours. In fact, the state has recorded 38% decline in daily cases in the past seven days. However, the respite fails to reflect in the number of ICU and ventilator beds available for the patients across Covid hospitals in the state.
According to the Covid dashboard of Gujarat maintained by the state health department, multiple districts including Chhota Udepur in central Gujarat, Narmada and Navsari in south Gujarat and Porbandar in Saurashtra region had no ventilator or ICU beds available as of Monday afternoon.
While Ahmedabad city recorded 16% vacant beds out of 1,476 ICU and ventilator beds, the ratio was much lower in several other districts. In Morbi, 4 out of 45 ventilatory beds were occupied. In Kheda, only 10 out of 162 ICU/ventilator beds were vacant. In Botad, the number of ICU/ventilator beds was 7 out of which 3 were available.
Experts say the second surge which saw higher lung involvement in patients pushed demand for ventilator and ICU beds. The spread of the virus in rural population only compounded the need for critical ICU care.
Senior health officer of a district in north Gujarat told TOI on condition of anonymity that the patients are shifted up to Ahmedabad for want of critical care beds in several districts. “And it’s not just ventilators – several districts don’t have experienced staff to operate the machines, too. On the positive side, we have adequate oxygen beds now,” said the officer.
Top sources in the state health department said that the state has received about 4,600 ventilators as part of the PM Cares initiative. “They are not only given to the government hospitals, but also loaned to private hospitals in parts of Gujarat. This time around, the requirement has increased manifold, and attempts are on to meet the rush,” said an official.
Dr Bharat Gadhvi, president of Ahmedabad Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (AHNA), said that it takes time for turnaround on ICU and ventilator beds. “When the patient is critical, he/she takes more time to recuperate. Thus, compared to oxygen beds, finding a critical care bed would always be difficult,” he said.
Dr Hardik Shah, medical director of DHS Hospital, said that a patient on ICU or ventilator takes about five to ten days or more depending on the condition. “During this wave, we have seen more patients going on ventilators as the number of overall patients was much more compared to the last surge,” he said.