On a day when saw Delhi’s coronavirus positivity rate rose sharply from 9.43% to 12.44% in a span of 24 hours, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal chaired an emergency meeting to take stock of the administration's preparedness to combat the crisis and meet with the increasing demand for beds to treat infected patients. Seeking everyone's cooperation, he later wrote on Twitter that steps are being taken to increase beds in both private and government sectors. He urged citizens to follow all COVID-related protocols, not to rush to hospitals unless necessary and get vaccinated if eligible.
The day saw Delhi touch yet another peak of 11,491 cases, a sharp spike in casualties from 10 to 72 in 10 days and total active cases surging to staggering 38,095. Delhi conducted 92,397 tests and vaccinated 74,397 people in the last 24 hours.
In a bid to increase the number of beds in the city capital, 14 government and private health facilities are being declared 'full Covid-19' hospitals. These are are Indraprashta Apollo, Sir Gangaram, Holy Family, Maharaja Agarsen, Max SS Shalimar Bagh, Fortis SS , Shalimar Bagh, Max Smart Super Speciality , Venkateshar Hospital, Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute, Jaipur Golden Hospital, Mata Chanan Devi Hospital, Pushpavati Singhania Research Institute, Manipal Hospital and Saroj Super Speciality Hospital.
Kejriwal said, “We must ensure our bed availability in government and private hospitals to be at par with November last year, and we will further request the Central government to increase Covid beds in central government hospitals as well. Delhi’s COVID situation is very serious, the fourth peak of the virus is most dangerous than ever. There should be no dearth in the number of beds available.”
According to an order issued by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), the occupancy of Covid ICU beds had crossed more than 85% in 57 of 115 the private hospitals and has reached 100% in almost all the large private hospitals. Occupancy of Covid ward beds has crossed more than 85% in 32 of the 115 private hospitals and has reached 100% in majority of the large private hospitals, it further said.
The order further said that in order to reach the Covid ICU bed capacity to the level of November 2020 (on November 11, Delhi had recorded its highest number of cases at 8,593), it has been decided that reservation of ICU beds be increased from 50% to 80% in 19 of 33 private hospitals, and from 50% to 60% in 82 of the remaining 115 hospitals.
Additionally, 60% of the beds in the 101 private hospitals that have not been declared as fully dedicated hospitals, but are treating Covid patients, will henceforth be reserved for Covid-related treatment only. In hospitals administered by the Delhi government, another 493 beds have been added.
Health Minister Satyendar Jain, who attended the meeting along with senior bureaucrats, requested the central government to increase the number of Covid 19 beds in its hospitals from the current 1,090, which was more than 4,000 in November 2020 when Delhi witnessed its third peak.