Govt assures people on availability of Covid beds

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NEW DELHI: Amid concerns that five states with a high Covid-19 case load may face a shortage of ICU beds and ventilators between June and August, officials in the health ministry said some of the projections being discussed are based on previous estimates that 20% cases might require hospitalisation and did not consider the revised discharge policy.
The current estimates show only 6-7% of total cases need hospital support, including oxygen and ICU facilities, while the rest of positive cases can be in home isolation and follow the treatment protocol, an official said. The Centre had also revised the discharge policy in May to reduce the turnaround time for availability of beds as patients started recovering faster than expected.
According to the revised policy, mild, very mild and pre-symptomatic cases can be discharged after 10 days of symptom onset and no fever for three days. This was earlier 14 days. Similarly, for patients in ICUs, the hospitalisation period has come down from an average of 21 days to 14 days now, the official said.
“Even in states like Delhi, beds are vacant in government hospitals, while private hospitals are admitting patients who can recover at home. It’s not unavailability of health infrastructure, rather mismanagement. What states need to do right away is create an effective hospital admission policy and must insist on private hospitals following it,” the official told TOI.
Sources said a presentation made during a meeting of the cabinet secretary with states warned that Maharashtra, TN, Delhi, Gujarat and UP may face a shortage of ICU beds and ventilators between June and August.
According to the latest data presented to the Group of Ministers (GoM) on Tuesday, there are 958 dedicated Covid hospitals for tertiary care for critically ill patients with 1,67,883 isolation beds, 21,614 ICU beds and 73,469 oxygen-supported beds. Besides, there are another 2,313 dedicated Covid Health Centres.

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