Gujarat saw 14 people test positive every five minutes while 35 people succumbed to the virus. This was a 10-month high mortality — last time the daily deaths were in 30s was in the first half of June 2020. On Thursday, the state’s mortality rate was 0.9%, a major jump from 0.6% in 24 hours.
All four major cities recorded yet another peak with Ahmedabad topping the tally at 951 (18% rise in a day), Surat at 723 (16% rise in a day), Rajkot at 427 (8% rise in a day) and Vadodara at 379 (8% rise in a day). Share of the four cities in the state’s tally was 62%.
As the active cases rose to 20,473, the health infrastructure gasped for essentials. While beds and Remdesevir injections continued to remain scarce, most alarming was oxygen shortage reported by many hospitals. Highly placed sources said that on Thursday, oxygen requirement was reported at 336 MT against the peak of 240 MT reported at the peak of corona pandemic last year. Hospitals operating on oxygen cylinders that need refill were most affected.
For instance, Shifa Hospital in Jamalpur sent out an SOS for oxygen on Thursday after the hospital’s supplier declined oxygen citing severe shortage of oxygen and its cylinders. “We had 28 patients admitted and had to run for oxygen in the middle of Wednesday night. We need 100 cylinders against which we could manage 15-20 from others.”
Dr Manish Bhatnagar of ICON Hospital, a Covid-19 designated facility in Vastrapur, said they are reeling under oxygen scarcity since the past three days. “With Covid-19 critical patients needing high flow oxygen, we require 80-100 jumbo cylinders a day. However, supply is erratic citing high demand. We have written to the AMC flagging the issue as currently we are forced to beg and borrow oxgen cylinders from other hospitals to ensure uninterrupted flow to patients,” said Dr Bhatnagar.
Gujarat Food and Drug Control Administration (FDCA) chief HG Koshia said oxygen shortage was reported by mid-size hospitals using cylinders due to logistics issue. But the government has immediately directed a large chunk of oxygen meant for industrial purposes to be directed to the hospitals. The crisis will be resolved in a day,” Koshia said.