Published on June 29, 2021

AHMEDABAD: For EMRI 108 services in Gujarat, the April-May surge of Covid-19 made a record of sorts when the daily emergencies for Covid alone skyrocketed to 64,000. At its peak, the ambulances gave about 24-36 hours waiting. A month later, the total daily cases have reached 2,134, with Covid-19 cases accounting for 88 calls.

But analysis of the total calls received by EMRI 108 in June revealed another trend – non-Covid emergencies have also gone down significantly, so much so that it dipped below the normal call volume pre-Covid time.

According to EMRI officials, the first 27 days of June recorded 57,635 calls, averaging 2,134 daily calls. To put the figure in perspective, in February this year – when the Covid cases were very low – the daily calls were 2,762, recording a 23% drop. For the pre-Covid years, the daily calls averaged 3,500 to 4,000 in Gujarat, said senior officials.

Category-wise, breathing-related issues recorded a drop of 38%, followed by 35% fall in cardiac emergencies, and 26% each in pregnancy-related emergencies and vehicular trauma compared to February figures.

Jashvant Prajapati, COO of EMRI Gujarat, said that two of the possible reasons is less persons approaching formal medical setting or not availing the ambulance services to reach hospitals.

“Citizens have got very cautious and could be avoiding going to hospitals unless it’s an absolute emergency – which was not the case earlier. We would like to appeal to the citizens that the ambulances used for Covid-19 and non-Covid emergencies are completely segregated and are sanitized daily. Timely care can save lives,” he said.

Daily OPD figure still lower than pre-Covid

Major city-based hospitals confirmed the trend. Dr JP Modi, medical superintendent of Civil Hospital, said that compared to Covid peak, the daily OPDs at the hospital have increased to 1,500-2,000. “But the figure is still less than what we got before the pandemic, which used to be in the range of 3,500-4,000. With the Covid cases down, more patients would return to the hospitals,” he said.

Dr Bharat Gadhvi, president of Ahmedabad Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (AHNA), said that with the dip in Covid cases, planned surgeries and OPDs have resumed in almost all the hospitals as the footfalls have increased. “But compared to the numbers at the beginning of the year, there is still a gap of about 25-30%,” he said.

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