ICU bed capacity for COVID infected in H.P- A cause of concern

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Photo used for indicative purpose only. Source: Internet

Shimla, May 21

The current surge in Covid cases is witnessing increasing numbers of critical care covid infected requiring Oxygenated  beds, ICUs and ventilators to save life. Talk of the bed capacity availability in Himachal Pradesh. Even though few Oxygenated beds are available for Corona patients in all major hospitals, ICU beds in all these institutions are almost full.

Chocked Intensive care units, could it be one of the reasons that on one hand the Corona infection cases graph are showing a downward trend across the state in past 3-4 days, but the death rate still remains high?

In the last 3 days it has been noted that trending with past few days statically 60-65 people are losing life on a daily basis but the case load has come down from nearing 4000-5000 range to 2500-3000 range. On Thursday 65 people lost lives due to COVID. On Wednesday it was 69 who lost the battle. On May 18 i.e Tuesday it was 78 deaths.

Taking account of the ICU beds in the state on Friday out of the 291 beds, 238 were occupied i.e close to 82 percent. Kangra the district with high death rate, at Tanda of the 60 beds available all were occupied. In Shree Balaji Hospital Kangra of 10 available beds all are occupied. At SLBSGMC Nerchowk in Mandi district all 50 available beds are full. Similarly at IGMC Shimla, which 38 ICU beds, all are occupied. At Solan MMMCH Kumarhatti all 15 beds are occupied. In Sirmour at Dr.YSPGMC Nahan of the 20 beds available, 17 are occupied. In Chamba Pt. JLNGMC hospital has 15 beds and all are occupied.

“ A hospital also has a High dependency unit (ACU) where a few patients can be treated in case of any such unwanted delays but clearly there is a need to increase the ICU bed capacity as the current setup is chocking, stated Dr Malay Sarkaar, State Nodal Officer for COVID-19 pandemic. “However for the death rate being high could be attributed to multiple other reasons also such as delay in identification of infection, reaching out late for medical advice and more,” he added.

Disheartening to note that the prime provision of having enough infrastructure for this drastic inevitable challenge remain unachieved. Even, highly insufficient to its scale or else many lives could have been saved if all was executed in true spirit. Clearly the under-preparedness of the state to face this 2nd wave has exposed the emptiness and hypocrisy towards public concern or to counter such pandemics/disasters.

Perhaps even now there is time that the decision makers besides working on increasing the number of oxygenated beds should also focus on adding ICU capacity for the state.

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