Coronavirus in Mumbai: 68% of beds in city are vacant

Nine months into the pandemic, the city seems to have run the gamut when it comes to hospital beds, going from critical shortages to vacancies.

For the first time in the past couple of months, around 68 per cent of beds and oxygen beds are lying vacant at major covid hospitals and centres treating Covid-19 patients in the city.

Civic officials have attributed this to the aggressive treatment protocol, an awareness that has helped them to control the number of cases below 1,000 for a couple of months.

Civic officials and health experts attribute this to several factors, including a decrease in the number of critical cases and more people opting for home isolation. “We do not know the reason for the decline in admissions. It’s possible that with the activation of ward-level war rooms, patients are distributed better,” said an official.

According to the dashboard of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, until December 4, the city had 12,926 active cases, but only 5,308, of 16,735 DCHC, DCH and CCC2 beds were occupied, which means only 31 per cent of patients are under observation at these hospitals and centres. Similarly, 780 of 1,934 ICU beds are vacant, followed by 5,690 of 8,325 oxygen beds and 380 of 1,166 ventilators beds are vacant. However, civic officials said there could be a spike in Covid-19 cases in December and January but Mumbai’s health infrastructure is equipped to handle it.

Suresh Kakani, Additional Municipal Commissioner, BMC, said currently there 71 per cent of asymptomatic patients may not need to be hospitalised until they have some serious health complications, followed by 23 per cent of symptomatic and only six per cent of critical patients who needs oxygen or ventilator beds. “Current situation of Mumbai is better than it was in the initial days of the pandemic. We have 68 per cent of beds vacant which can be used if there is a spike again. For now, we have stopped receiving complaints of patients being suffered due to shortage of beds,” he said.

Moreover, many patients are opting for home care as they are asymptomatic and do not hospitalise. “An increasing number of people in high-rises are opting to stay home and be treated. The rush to get admitted has reduced,” Kakani added. “Doctors from the ward-level war rooms follow up with patients in home isolation. Many patients also consult their doctors. The city currently has 835 critical patients,” he said.

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