The BMC is worried about the unrelenting rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), as it will derail the improving recovery and death rate in Mumbai. According to the BMC chief Iqbal Chahal, currently, over 1,100 patients from the MMR are occupying beds in Mumbai hospitals.
According to the BMC, of the total deaths in the Lokamanya Tilak Municipal General (Sion) and KEM Hospitals since the pandemic hit the city, 12 % and 18% of the deceased, respectively, came from the MMR.
Many of these areas in the MMR, serve as 'dormitories' of the financial capital, housing people who commute to Mumbai for work. Given the lack of health infrastructure to fight a pandemic as deadly as this, the rise in cases in the MMR is now threatening to overwhelm Mumbai's hospitals and testing facilities, causing BMC officials to be concerned.
"Hundreds of swab samples are arriving in the city from the MMR for tests, and the municipal corporations / private hospitals have been sending patients to Mumbai when they get critical. These patients, whose condition is mostly deteriorating, are admitted to hospitals in Mumbai. The impact is seen in the daily cases and death reports of Mumbai," said a senior BMC official.
After the number of cases started rising in Mumbai, the civic body started changing its protocol of testing, reporting cases and even allotting beds to patients. The civic chief made it compulsory for all hospitals to report death cases within 48 hours of their occurrence. In June, Chahal launched the 'Save Lives' mission, where it was mandatory for senior doctors to monitor critical cases on individual basis, via Zoom calls, if needed.
"Currently, over 1,100 patients from the MMR are occupying hospital beds in Mumbai hospitals. Hospital beds are allotted only to those who are symptomatic or critical. We are not refusing any patients who are coming to civic hospitals. Many who get critical are shifted to Mumbai. Most of these patients get here too late. This death is then recorded in the hospital's records," said Chahal.
Elaborating the impact on the death toll in the city, Principal Secretary on special deputation to the BMC Manish Mhaiskar said: "Mumbai is under control mainly because of several campaigns and aggressive strategies adopted by the civic body, including 'Chase the Virus' and 'Save Lives'. However, you can witness a rise in the numbers, as patients from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region are being directly admitted to city hospitals. In July, of the 86 patients in Sion Hospital who died of Covid-19, 50 belonged to the MMR."