With the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) expecting a spike in the number of Covid-19 cases post Diwali; it has at the same time maintained that the possible spike post the festival should not pose a challenge to the availability of Covid-19 beds in the city.
From over 14,000 beds available in Covid-19 hospitals, 66% are vacant, BMC officials said.
In categories like ICU, oxygen and ventilators the vacancy rate is between 30-60%. The BMC has said there will not be any impact on the bed availability, and if need arises it can increase the bed capacity depending on the requirement.
According to the data on BMC’s dashboard, of the 14,456 beds in dedicated Covid-19 hospitals and centres, 9,580 beds were vacant, as of November 14.
In case of ICU beds, out of the total 2,003 ICU beds, 803 are available followed by 5,987 oxygen beds of the total 8,689 oxygen beds and 373 ventilators of 1,183 ventilators, are vacant.
After the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, BMC had come under criticism owing to non-availability of beds. To deal with the issue, the BMC starting June 2020, created 24 mini controlled ward war rooms to regulate the allocation of beds rather than having a single centralized bed allocation control room.
Suresh Kakani, Additional Municipal Commissioner of BMC said, “The 14 days cycle post Diwali is crucial, and there may be a surge upto some extent. But bed availability will not be an issue and citizens don’t need to worry about it. However, they need to be cautious and take all precautions to control the spread of Covid-19.”
The BMC had reserved 80% of the total beds for Covid-19 in a few chosen private hospitals and nursing homes. However, with the daily case load going down several hospitals and nursing homes had requested to bring down the cap and reduce Covid-19 beds, but the BMC has not allowed that yet.
The BMC had also decided to put several temporary Covid-19 centres on standby or shut them owing to the caseload going down. But the state Covid-19 taskforce has warned against permanently closing down such centres fearing a second wave.
Meanwhile, Dr Kedar Toraskar, a member of Maharashtra’s Covid-19 task force said, “We understand that daily operation of these centres can be a costly affair but we don’t have to shut them but should rather put them on standby wherein they can be activated anytime, in case of any spike in the coming days.”
The state government had last week warned of a possible second wave in the month of January and February owing to unlocking of economic activities. There is also a school of thought that cases will increase during the winter season.
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