At AMRI Hospitals, around 20% of its 90 general Covid beds now remain vacant on an average but all 75 ICU beds across its three centres stay occupied. “This could be due to the fact that many mild to moderate patients are not seeking hospital admission. Often, some of them are suffering a deterioration leading to direct ICU admission. So, while the number of manageable cases has dropped appreciably, severe cases are yet to show a downward curve. So, we still need more critical care beds,” said AMRI CEO Rupak Barua.
The hospital added six HDU beds for severe patients at its Salt Lake unit last week and plans to add six more. “We have also ordered four ventilators and monitors,” Barua said.
At Peerless Hospital, too, around 20% of its 120 general beds are vacant now. Occupancy has been varying between 15 and 18 beds at it’s 20-bed ICU, leading to a vacancy for the first time since the pandemic began in late-March. “While mild patients are now staying at home, the flow of moderate to severe patients seems to be ebbing. In our hospital, the number of critical patients, too, has gone down but it may not be a trend yet. So, we plan to add at least 10 more critical care beds. We have ordered four ventillators for the additional beds and hope to get them in a fortnight,” said Peerless CEO Sudipto Mitra.
Fortis Hospital pulmonologist Raja Dhar pointed out that ICU occupancy was unlikely to drop at the best hospitals since they were treating the worst cases which possibly can’t be managed at other facilities. “But there has been a sharp decline in the number of mild cases who are staying at home. Moderate cases are being treated at satellite centres or general wards and only the most severe are now at the ICUs. Since their condition is critical, these patients are taking longer to recover resulting in packed ICUs,” Dhar explained.
At ILS Hospital, general Covid bed occupancy has dropped by around 10% but the ICU remains full. “This is a direct result of the numerous satellite centres and safe houses that have been set up over the last few weeks. While these have taken the load off big hospitals, ICUs remain full since the number of serious cases hasn’t yet dropped,” said ILS group vice-president Debashish Dhar.
Patients who were kept back in wards fearing a relapse are now being discharged quickly to free up beds, said an onco-surgeon who had Covid. He added that ICU patients, too, are being moved back to wards faster now. “While previously, they would remain in ICU even after symptoms receded since doctors were wary to take a chance, now these patients are being shifted to step-down units sooner,” he said adding that while he would be flooded with requests for a bed from Covid patients’ families till a fortnight ago, the calls have now stopped. “It’s clear that the situation has now eased,” said the surgeon.
While RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences (RTIICS) saw a sudden spurt of cases towards the end of July and early August, average occupancy over the past 10 days has declined. “We currently have an average of 80 patients in the hospital and 30 patients in the satellite facility. However, the Covid ICU continues to be fully occupied,” said zonal director R Venkatesh.