On the one hand, Maharashtra is grappling with a surge in corona cases while on the other, the state’s health system is on ventilator support. The government is worried about the increasing shortage of beds in various districts. In some districts, including the state’s second capital Nagpur, there are two patients to a bed, being treated for an infection which demands social distancing, while in Pune, patients are struggling to get beds not just in leading hospitals but also at government and smaller private hospitals.
The government has hinted that the situation may become more critical if cases continue to rise at the current rate. On Friday, 36,902 new cases and 112 deaths were reported, with 2.04 per cent fatality rate. There are 2,82,451 active cases currently, which are expected to cross the 3-lakh soon.
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar admitted that the state government has taken serious note of the shortage of beds and has therefore decided to take control of 50 per cent of the beds at private hospitals.
However, the public health department has pointed out that this decision is not enough. “The department is of the view that the district administration needs to be asked to impose lockdown in areas where 75 per cent of the beds are full and the vaccination drive needs to be increased on a war footing. It is up to the state government to make the final decision,” a senior officer told The Free Press Journal.
According to public health department data, in the state’s tourism capital Aurangabad, patients have to wait for hours together for a bed. On top of this, government hospitals are facing a shortage of medicines.
The situation in Nagpur is no different. “In some hospitals two Covid patients have to share a bed, like in the government medical college. Patients on oxygen must rest on the same bed,” said an official. However, he said, the Nagpur Municipal Corporation has beds available.
“Currently, in Nagpur, 80 per cent beds are occupied while 70 per cent ventilator beds are full. In Aurangabad, more than 80 per cent of the beds were occupied. In Thane, about 70 per cent of the beds are full. In Jalgaon, 50 to 65 percent of the beds are full,” said the official. In Pune, 90 per cent of the beds are full.