The strict lockdown-like restrictions imposed by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray when Maharashtra was being railed by the second wave of Covid-19 as it ambushed the already-crumbling state’s healthcare system, seem to be finally bearing fruit. Nearly 85 per cent of hospital beds dedicated to Covid-19 patients are now lying vacant across the capital city paving the way for doctors to resume routine healthcare services. In fact, the demand has surged for non-Covid beds for the resumption of long-pending surgeries.
According to a report in the Times of India, nearly 19,411 of 23,270 Covid-19 beds in Mumbai were vacant on Friday. Over 18,300 of them were in jumbos, private and public hospitals, while the rest in Covid-19 Care Centres meant for non-critical cases. Nearly 85 per cent of isolation beds and 55 per cent of ICU beds were not occupied. Around 47 per cent beds with ventilator support too were not reserved, said the report.
Parel-based KEM Hospital, which mainly takes critical patients, has not reported daily Covid-19 deaths. Dean Dr Hemant Deshmukh informed that 60 per cent of routine healthcare work has resumed in the hospital due to decline in Covid-19 cases. “We currently have 500 non-Covid patients,” he added while speaking to TOI, adding that hospital’s ward number 6 with 35 beds, on Friday had only 16 patients and more Covid-19 beds can be added if numbers surge.
During the deadly second wave of Covid-19 pandemic in April, the Maharashtra Covid-19 task force had instructed all hospitals to postpone routine surgeries to fulfill the demand of oxygen for Covid-19 patients as the state was reporting an average 9,000 coronavirus cases daily.
Dr Mohan Joshi, Dean of Sion Hospital, was quoted by TOI as saying, “Our daily admissions are down to 10 now. We have reduced Covid-19 beds to accommodate more non-Covid patients.” According to KEM and Sion authorities, they were performing 300-350 major and minor surgeries daily now.
BMC to Free Up Medical Colleges from Covid-19 Duties
Sion hospital's gynaecology department head, Dr Arun Nayak, said doctors have started scheduling the pending surgeries. “People had deferred hysterectomies, put their tumour removal surgeries on hold, which we want to take up on priority,” TOI quoted him as saying.
According to additional municipal commissioner Suresh Kakani, minimum Covid-19 related work would be given to civic medical colleges to free them up for non-Covid services that faced delay due to second wave. As per the report, Mumbai had a 112 per cent surge in deaths due to all causes in the month of April compared to the average for the same month in the previous four years. As per experts, one of the main reasons could be lack of access to Covid-19 care.
Meanwhile, Mumbai on Friday reported 600 new Covid-19 cases and 13 deaths, the (BMC) had said. The caseload in the city rose to 7,26,637 and death toll reached 15,599, it said. After reconciliation of data, 787 cases were removed from the cumulative figure of infections, it said. On Thursday, Mumbai had reported 540 COVID-19 cases and 13 fatalities.