Even as the hospital bed occupancy across the state is only a little above 26%, it is close to 70% in Kolkata. The state health department has already started increasing the number of beds and health facilities in Kolkata and neighbouring districts in the wake of the increasing demand for Covid beds in the government sector as well. Some private hospitals, too, have already started augmenting its bed capacity.
Out of the 10,830 Covid beds in the government facilities, including the private units the government has acquired in the state, 2,062 beds spans across seven hospitals in Kolkata. As on Saturday, 1,402 of these beds remained occupied.
“The number of Covid cases in Kolkata is higher than in other districts. Neighbouring districts like Howrah, North and South 14 Parganas are badly affected as well. Hence, the pressure is mounting on Kolkata hospitals. We are working out on how we could increase the number of beds,” said a senior health department official.
Beds in Medical College Hospital Kolkata, the last to be designated as Covid hospital among the seven, are filling up fast. Almost 90% of the 500-bedded tertiary-level Covid hospital is currently occupied. While the occupancy at AMRI Annexe, Salt Lake, and Desun hospital is 100%, the occupancy at KPC Medical College is 87%, ID Hospital 82%, CNCI New Town 58% and MR Bangur Hospital is 35%.
More than one third of the fresh Covid cases reported in the past 24 hours are from Kolkata. The state had 1,344 new cases on Saturday, out of which 421 were from the city alone while neighbouring North 24 Parganas reported 327 cases, Howrah and South 24 Parganas had 130 and 149 cases, respectively. Earlier, the government had set up safe homes to monitor asymptomatic patients who did not need hospital care to ease off pressure on hospitals.
“In Kolkata the number of beds in MCH is being enhanced while the number of beds in Sanjiban Hospital has been increased from 300 to 500. We expect Narayana Multispcecialty Hospital in Howrah that has been acquired as a level IV Covid hospital with 100 beds to become functional in a day or two. The hospital was previously serving as a level II Covid hospital catering only to suspected cases,” said the health department official.
Most demanded among the government hospitals for Covid treatment in the city is MCHK because of the multispecialty services involving experienced doctors. It started functioning as a Covid hospital on June 7. On Saturday, only 50 beds were vacant out of the 500 beds. According to sources in Swasthya Bhawan, health department officials wanted to covert MCHK into a full-fledged Covid hospital. But the plan was shelved owing to pressure from resident doctors and interns who wanted non-Covid services to be reopened in the hospital.
Of the 9,588 active cases in the state, Kolkata has 3,280 cases, followed by North 24 parganas with 2,285 cases, Howrah 1,119 and South 24 Parganas 945 cases. On Friday, senior health department officials had met private hospital administrators to ramp up beds, following which some hospitals have already increased bed capacity while others are planning on the same line.
In the government sector, the health department is also looking for hospitals especially in North 24 Parganas for transforming them into Covid hospitals to tide over the situation.