With record high Covid cases reported daily in Bengaluru, the medical infrastructure in the IT city is being stretched to its limits. As of Monday, Bengaluru had just 9 ICU beds with ventilators available. While there were no ICU beds available at government hospitals and just 2 ICU beds with ventilators (ICU-V) were vacant at the government medical colleges and 7 beds at private hospitals.
Distress SMS’ and calls for help were being forwarded across social media platforms. A video of a woman begging at the feet of hospital authorities for an ICU bed for her relative at the BGS hospital in Bengaluru, is what got authorities to admit that there is a severe crunch.
When asked about the mismanagement regarding ICU beds, Karnataka health Minister K Sudhakar admitted that there were ground-level issues and that it would take 2 more days to enhance supply.
“There are some issues at the ground level especially with ICU beds, but over a period of 2-3 days they (Private hospitals) have assured me that they will hand it over to us. This is a health emergency, I agree that there are certain issues we will try to rectify them as early as possible" the minister promised.
According to data by the government, Bengaluru currently has over 1 lakh active cases in the city. Of the 5,931 beds allocated towards covid-19 only 1,350 were available, of this 1,062 are general beds whereas 256 are high dependency units (HDU beds).
Experts suggest that with this exponential rate of transmission, by May 1 we could be staring at close to 30,000 cases per day at which the requirement for HDU/ ICU bed could be anywhere close to 1,347 leaving the government with very few options.
#Bengaluru scenario 20th Apr Projected Daily Cases : 12088Daily HDU/ ICU bed requirement: 604
Projected Daily Cases : 18028Daily HDU/ ICU bed requirement: 901
Projected Daily Cases : 29124Daily HDU/ ICU bed requirement: 1347
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— Dr Giridhara R Babu (@epigiri) April 19, 2021
On Monday, Opposition leaders representing Bengaluru, brought up the issue of insufficient health infrastructure at the meeting of all elected representatives from the city. When quested about its preparedness, the government did have many answers.
Congress MLA Rizwan Arshad said that the meeting was the government diversion tactic to avoid attention of the public from the acute shortfall. “They want to show that they are taking everyone in confidence but it’s a failure of the govt, they had one year to prepare but did nothing. If they have any moral responsibility they should resign" he added.
Opposition leaders too were of the view that a full lockdown would have serious economic ramifications. They suggested instead to bring in a curfew under section 144 IPC, to curb crowds during the day and to extend the existing night curfew across the state.
Bengaluru recorded 9,618 new covid cases in the last 24 hours. It also reported 97 out of the 146 deaths across Karnataka.