Hyderabad: Telangana state is fast running out of beds for Covid-19 patients. The deteriorating situation on Friday was such that the health department threw up its hands and ordered immediate conversion of Gandhi Hospital into a Covid-19 treatment-only centre. The hospital, which the government always claimed has enough beds to treat Covid-19 patients, on Friday ran out of them, particularly those on which patients can be provided with ventilator or CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) support.
The health department issued orders on Friday directing the Gandhi Hospital authorities to immediately stop all services except Covid-19 care. From Saturday, the hospital will stop all its out-patient services and begin shifting non-Covid-19 patients after stabilising all critically ill patients in various departments to other government hospitals.
As on Thursday evening, Telangana state had, according to the state health department, 10,279 Covid-19 patients admitted to various government and private hospitals. This number does not take into account the Covid-19 patients admitted to hospitals in the state on Friday as the department releases its official data only a day later.
The total beds available for Covid-19 patients, both in the government and the private sector, according to the bulletin for Thursday, incidentally is 27,775.
The rush for admissions was such that the 249 ICU beds for Covid-19 patients in Gandhi Hospital, which the health department were available as on Thursday 8 pm, were filled up by afternoon with a constant stream of Covid-19 hit people arriving at the hospital in government-run 108, and private ambulances, and some in private transport. Gandhi Hospital, as per the department, has a total of 500 ICU beds capable of providing patients with ventilator and CPAP systems. In addition, the hospital has 1,000 beds equipped with oxygen supply and 390 general beds.
A circular issued by hospital superintendent Dr M. Raja Rao on Friday to heads of departments said they should “not admit non-Covid cases, but emergency and terminally ill patients should be stabilised and then transferred. Present cases in different wards should be cleared at the earliest and all beds should be made available for Covid patients.”
Amidst very real fears expressed by health department officials that the healthcare infrastructure may not be able to cope with the rush of Covid-19 patients, many private hospitals too began reporting that their Covid-19 wards were full.