The ICU of a private hospital in Delhi on 31 July is in stark contrast to how it was on 15 June.
In the month of June, the national capital was struggling to accommodate the rising infections and deaths, with a number of reports on ICU beds running out, people dying due to lack of care and signs of an overwhelmed healthcare system.
After witnessing a single-day spike of almost 4,000 on 23 June, Delhi recorded only 1,379 cases on 6 July. Since then, the city seems to be oscillating near 1,000 cases, registering a steady decline from the daily case-count a month ago, even as testing has increased.
A Breather for Overwhelmed Hospitals & Doctors
As the number of daily infections fell in July, the progress also reflected in some of its private hospitals. Speaking to The Quint, many doctors shared that the occupancy in their hospitals had come down from 100% in June to 60-70% towards the end of July.
Dr Sumit Ray, Head of Department, Critical Care Medicine, Holy Family Hospital, Delhi, took us through the situation at the hospital on 31 July. “In the last couple of weeks, the number of patients at the COVID ICU in our hospital has surely reduced. We, at this point in time, have nearly a third of the beds vacant in the COVID ICU. Even on the floors and in the wards, almost a third of the beds are vacant.”
"“We have been able to give a little more off-time to our young nursing and resident doctor colleagues who have been really working hard, and have had a tough time during this phase.”" - Dr Sumit Ray
Dr Akshay Budhraja, a senior pulmonologist at Aakash Healthcare, Delhi, echoed a similar experience from his hospital, “Last month at this same point, there was 90-100% occupancy in our hospital. But now, we have more than 30-40% vacant beds.”
"“There is definitely less work as compared to June. We were overworked and there was also a shortage of staff. Initially, we used to come at 7 am in the morning and leave the hospital around 8 or 9 at night. Now, we are back to our routine. We come to the hospital around 8.30 or 9 am and leave around 6 pm.”" - Dr Akshay Budhraja
A lot of this change can also be credited to more awareness about the disease, timely management, and home isolation, he adds.
Even as the situation improves, experts are wary of concluding that the city has crossed its peak. “The word ‘peak’ is controversial. We don’t really know if we have passed it. We may see a rise in cases again in the coming 4-6 weeks. We need to be careful,” says Dr Budhraja.
Residents of the city are advised to continue following all necessary precautions to avoid a resurgence in cases, as some other regions have witnessed.
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