As the number of Covid-19 cases rise higher in Visakhapatnam, an acute shortage of beds is being faced at most hospitals in the city. Most of the private hospitals in the city, that have been assigned for Covid-19 treatment by the State Government, are just as swamped as the government hospitals. While there are no vacant beds available in these hospitals, a large number of patients have been waiting outside such hospitals, in the hopes of getting a bed. Furthermore, some patients even have to wait in ambulances, on oxygen support, for a long time before they can be admitted.
Dr. Leela Prasad, working at a private hospital in Visakhapatnam, has revealed that the hospital has been taking in Covid-19 patients for the past two weeks. “Ever since we started admitting Covid-19 patients, the hospital has always been full and no beds have become available. The oxygen supply has been scarce and the hospital staff is becoming over-burdened. It’s becoming very tough to manage the situation.”
The problem is not just the lack of empty beds at these hospitals but a shortage of oxygen supply as well which many hospitals are facing. In fact, the demand for oxygen tanks and cylinders has become so high in Visakhapatnam District that certain hospitals are running out of their reserve oxygen as well.
GIMSR (GITAM Institute of Medical Sciences and Research) in Visakhapatnam has been marked as a Category-A Private Hospital by the District Administration in the list of Covid-19 hospitals. It has close to 600 beds but only 120 ICU Oxygen and non-ICU Oxygen beds are available, which are all currently filled. “Even though we are running at our limit as far as the number of Covid-19 beds is concerned, we have been accommodating 10-20 more patients than our capacity. But it will be problematic when they require oxygen supply,” said Dr. R. Ramana Rao, Nodal Officer at GIMSR.
In response to the shortage of beds at hospitals in Visakhapatnam and other districts, AP Health Minister Alla Nani has assured that people need not worry about the shortage of oxygen, Remdesivir injections in the state. With the increase in Covid-19 cases in the state, the Government is preparing for additional 37,000 beds in the government hospitals in the state.
While the state has 60 Covid-19 centres, the government is in plans to increase bed strength in all the hospitals to meet the demand. Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has told the officials to provide treatment for mildly affected patients at Covid Centres and severe Covid patients at the hospitals so as to avoid bed scarcity.
While the Oxygen usage was 240 metric tonnes in the previous month. To meet the demand now, the Centre has allocated 420 metric tonnes of oxygen for the state.
Meanwhile, the rush at Covid-19 testing centres and vaccination centres is just as high, as was evident at Regional Eye Hospital and Swarna Bharathi Indoor Stadium on Tuesday. People are having to wait for a long time before they can get tested at these centres or get their jab.
Considering the dire circumstances regarding shortage of beds in Visakhapatnam hospitals, people are requested to understand the gravity of the situation and stay at their homes. Don’t step out without wearing a face mask and rigorously sanitize yourselves at regular intervals. Maintain physical distancing from others at all times.