Even as Covid-19 cases in Mumbai have risen rapidly over the past couple of weeks, there is no shortage of beds for coronavirus patients in the city. Around 32% of the 17,534 beds in hospitals and Covid-19 quarantine centres in Mumbai are currently unoccupied, while the active cases in the city have risen to 34,259 on Friday.
Of the vacant beds, maximum are in municipal hospitals.
The primary reason for this being Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal’s decision in June to allot beds in civic hospital only after beds in private hospitals were occupied. In August, Chahal also directed all ward officers to fill up beds at jumbo Covid-19 facilities first, before allotting beds at civic hospitals.
On Friday, 30% of Mumbai’s 14,559 hospital beds were vacant; 11% of its 1,786 intensive care unit (ICU) beds had no occupant; 32% of its 8,805 oxygen beds were free; and 10% of its 1,119 ventilator beds were unoccupied. Moreover, 38% of the 2,928 Covid Care Centre (CCC2) beds, used to quarantine asymptomatic patients, were also lying empty.
This translates to Mumbai having 4,505 vacant hospital beds for Covid-19 patients, 203 ICU beds, 2,886 oxygen beds, and 114 ventilator beds. The city also has 12 paediatric ICUs of which six were vacant, and 22 neo-natal ICUs of which seven were unoccupied as on Friday. Of the 185 beds for cancer and dialysis Covid-19 patients, 67 were not taken.
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Mumbai also has 144 reserve CCC2 facilities with a bed capacity of 18,397, which can be activated at any time as per need.
According to civic officials, Mumbai has not fallen short of beds owing to many asymptomatic patients choosing home quarantine.
Currently, 71% of the active patients in the city are asymptomatic, 24% are symptomatic and 4% are critical.
“More patients are asymptomatic, and as more cases are coming from high-rises, these patients opt for quarantining themselves at home. BMC has allowed that as long as they have a separate room and an independent toilet in the house,” said Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner in-charge of BMC’s public health department.
Dharavi crosses 3,000 coronavirus cases
Meanwhile, Covid-19 case count in Dharavi crossed the 3,000 mark on Saturday, with 25 fresh cases. On September 11, Dharavi had reported 33 fresh Covid-19 cases, the highest after 55 days. Following this, on September 14, Dharavi reported 23 new cases. As on Saturday, Dharavi has 160 active Covid-19 cases and its tally stands at 3,018.
Kiran Dighavkar, assistant commissioner of the G/North ward, with jurisdiction over Dharavi, said, “There are a number of reasons why cases in Dharavi have been increasing. Among them is considerable easing of lockdown, and as businesses in Dharavi are reopening, many migrant labourers are returning. Also, business owners are urging their employees, and employers such as families who hire house helps are urging their employees to get tested before returning to work.”
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Mumbai on Saturday recorded 2,211 new Covid-19 cases and 59 fatalities.
The total cases in the city now stand at 182,203, and toll has risen to 8,425.