Yet, in a late night development, the situation seemed to worsen to such an extent that breathless patients landed at the Covid OPDs of medical colleges after they couldn’t find a bed in several private hospitals. Medical colleges too told them that beds were not available.
Earlier in the day, the NMC has directed private hospitals to start triaging Covid patients and immediately refer all step-down ones and stable cases to Covid Care Centre (CCC) or in home isolation. The civic body had on Monday morning decided to follow up admission of all people, who call up its helpline seeking beds, and more private hospitals will be asked to start Covid treatment.
However, by around 11pm, the helpline officials said there were no beds available in the city.
Earlier, as the Covid caseload is gradually shifting from private to public hospitals, both the tertiary medical colleges were asked to increase functional beds. Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) would be shifting its vaccination centre to pave way for 40 high dependency unit (HDU) beds at Ward 49, while Indira Gandhi Government Medical College & Hospital (IGGMCH) will be getting manpower to run as many beds.
Both the medical colleges are grappling with shortage of doctors and nurses as many in-house staffers have tested Covid positive.
The NMC is also recalling doctors and nurses who were recruited during the August-September Covid wave.
The medical colleges too started shifting step-down patients to MLA Hostel CCC, which was re-started on Monday. Another 78 oxygenated beds will be run at Pachpaoli CCC, where staff training has commenced. The NMC has also asked Shalinitai Meghe Hospital and Research Centre (SMHRC) to restart 300 beds. This time, the hospital would function as Dedicated Covid Hospital (DCH).
Additional municipal commissioner Ram Joshi said civic chief Radhakrishnan B held a review meeting in the morning. “The civic chief has asked GMCH and IGGMCH to start more Covid beds. We have also asked railway hospitals to start Covid treatment or provide their staff for Ayush Hosptial at Sadar,” he said.
Additional municipal commissioner Jalaj Sharma said around 500 Covid beds were available as on Monday morning in private DCHs. “We have increased the number of hospitals and would be asking even smaller establishments to admit Covid patients. Our helpline is running and staff will follow-up callers till the patients get admitted. Our dashboard too displays updates of bed availability and we are trying to make it zone-wise so that people know which hospital is available in their area,” he said.
Sharma advised citizens not to ask for specific hospitals as beds may not be available there. Civic officials have observed that people seek information about bed availability at specific hospital and this is causing an impression of bed shortage.
Sharma also said that the city has 905 ICU beds in private hospitals. “Let the doctor or hospital decide what type of care a patient needs. Relatives themselves are deciding that their patient needs ICU,” he said.
Regarding triaging, Sharma said, “Each bed is a scare resource now and hospitals have been strictly told to ensure beds are not unnecessarily occupied by mild patients, who can be treated at step-down facilities. This will ease pressure on tertiary hospitals.”
Since last week, citizens are unable to get a bed in Covid hospitals easily as they are said to be running full following the surge in daily cases. On Monday morning, NGO TogetherWeCan received a couple of distress calls from citizens whose entire family has tested positive and some of them needed hospitalization.
Some positive persons even ventured out in search of beds as NMC helpline didn’t respond, said a representative from the NGO.