KOLKATA: Hospitals have started witnessing an unprecedented rush of Covid patients after a lull for around 10 days in August-end and early-September. So far, some hospitals have managed to preempt the rush but many are struggling to cope with the inflow of patients. While some have already planned to increase the number of Covid beds further, the West Bengal Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission (WBCERC) has called for a meeting with private hospitals to discuss on better preparedness.
In between Friday 8pm and 6am on Saturday, 22 patients — some confirmed and few suspected Covid patients — were admitted to Peerless Hospital, making it two patients every hour. The hospital has never seen such a rush in all these months. Peerless is not alone, hospitals across the city have started getting a steady flow of patients.
“We have never had 22 patients, all symptomatic, within a span of 10 hours. Some came with Covid positive reports while samples of the rest were tested in our laboratory. Fortunately, we had enhanced our bed capacity recently and could accommodate all of them,” said Sudipta Mitra, CEO of Peerless Hospital. The hospital has increased its bed strength to 150 from 100 recently. On an average, the hospital would earlier get about eight patients a day for admission to its Covid ward.
Belle Vue Clinic is currently admitting around 20 to 25 Covid patients daily on an average. Earlier, the hospital would have around 12 admissions a day. It has scaled up its Covid beds from 130 to 160. “After a lull of about 10 days in between August-end and September-beginning, the rise in demand for Covid beds has been steep. In anticipation, we had augmented our bed numbers and enhanced our work force — mainly doctors and nurses. Also, our daily discharge count is around 20 per day. Hence, we have been able to manage it so far,” said Pradip Tondon, CEO of Belle Vue Clinic.
At Fortis, 14 patients were admitted in its Covid ward in the past 24 hours. The 200-bedded hospital has converted 63 beds for Covid treatment. “Many patient families are enquiring about vacant beds. We are telling them to wait if they are in a stable condition or seek treatment in another hospital. The pressure is tremendous,” said a source at Fortis Hospital.
From 7am on Friday to 7am on Saturday, the three units of AMRI Hospitals had 18 admissions out of the 32 patients, including suspected cases. Hospital sources said the rise is about 50% of what it had been during the slump in early September.
“Though we are getting about 50 enquiries for Covid admission everyday, we are able to admit 15-20 patients a day. All our 170 beds are running full. We are planning to add a few more beds. But we have to do it keeping in mind the interest of non-Covid patients,” said Alok Roy, chairman ofthe Medica Group of Hospitals.
Facilities like Ruby General Hospitals, too, is planning to hike up the number of beds as all its 60 beds are running full. “One good thing is that the turnaround time for patients in general ward has declined, enabling us to reduce the waiting period,” said Subhasish Datta, chief general manager (operations) at Ruby.
Representatives of all private hospitals have been called by WBCERC chairperson Justice Ashim Kumar Banerjee for a meeting on Monday. The chairman is expected to discuss on ways to enhance hospital capacities to tide over the situation.