Over the last three weeks, hospitals have seen occupancy of non-Covid beds rise from 60% to full capacity on an average.
All the 166 non-Covid beds at Peerless Hospital are occupied while 5% of non-critical Covid beds remain vacant. “Surgeries that had been deferred have now turned urgent. Ailments like cardiac diseases and lung infections see a spurt in winter. Moreover, hundreds of patients from the suburbs, who couldn’t get treatment during the lockdown are now desperate to get treated. These factors have pushed up the demand for non-Covid beds. The only option now is to reduce the number of Covid beds,” said Peerless Hospital CEO Sudipta Mitra.
Medica Superspecialty Hospital’s 160-bed non-Covid unit has been full since last week. With the queue of patients waiting for admission getting longer, a reduction in the number of Covid beds could just be a matter of time, felt the authorities. “While all our critical care Covid beds remain occupied, vacancies are now frequent at the general ward. Demand for non-Covid beds, on the other hand, have doubled. We can have more beds only by squeezing a unit,” said chairperson Alok Roy.
Out of AMRI Hospitals’s 350 non-Covid beds across its three units, 320 are occupied. The hospital authorities expect the vacancies to be filled in two-three days. “There has been a sharp rise in the number of planned surgeries and admissions that were deferred due to the lockdown,” said AMRI CEO Rupak Barua. He added that while the possibility of a reduction in Covid beds is not being ruled out, it will not be done immediately. Another private hospital said it was keen to reduce its Covid beds now that the flow of non-critical patients has ebbed.
RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences has 25% vacancy at its 130-bed Covid unit. “We have more than 300 non-Covid patients at the hospital. This is severely straining treatment of non-Covid patients. However, we have no plans on reducing Covid beds until we have clearance from the authorities,” said zonal director R Venkatesh.
Number of Covid patients has dropped at ILS Hospital, said group vice-president Debasish Dhar. “We wish to observe the trend for some time before taking a call on reduction of Covid beds,” said Dhar.