MUMBAI: With a steady decline in Covid-19 cases, most private and public hospitals in the city are left with 5%-30% vacant beds both in ICUs and wards.
But, there is no plan to disband Covid wards as a surge in cases is anticipated post festivities.
According to the BMC dashboard, 51% of the city’s 18,476 Covid beds are currently vacant as of Monday, including 200 ventilator beds. The data also includes unoccupied beds in the six jumbo Covid care facilities.
At Bombay Hospital in Marine Lines on Monday, only 25 of the 42 Covid ICU beds were occupied and 20-30 beds vacant in the wards. Dr Gautam Bhansali said that the count of empty beds started increasing since the past two weeks. “Never before have we had so many empty ICU beds,” he said. Similarly, Bhatia Hospital in Tardeo had 5% vacancy, a far cry from the long waiting list till a month ago.
Dr Jeenam Shah, consultant pulmonologist at Bhatia Hospital, said one of the reasons for more vacant beds could be that doctors are seeing more milder cases which can be managed at home. “Also, the panic has largely subsided and people no longer rush to a hospital on getting a positive report. Doctors have become better at triaging patients who would require admission.”
At Powai’s Hiranandani Hospital, the board at the reception displayed similar numbers. On Monday, 25 of the 91 Covid beds in wards were empty, although all ICU beds were occupied. “There has been a decreasing trend in the number of Covid cases lately. Decrease in admissions is a good sign and we hope this downward trend continues,” said Dr Sujit Chatterjee, CEO of L H Hiranandani Hospital, Powai. He, however, cautioned that such a dip was seen once earlier only to be followed by a surge in September.
Dr V Ravishankar, COO of Lilavati Hospital in Bandra, said around 15% of beds under BMC control were unoccupied.
Meanwhile, the Thane municipal body declared Aarogyam Hospital a non-Covid hospital as the region’s recovery rate rose to 92%. This is the sixth hospital in Thane to be reconverted to cater to only non-Covid patients. Of the 3,202 beds in the 25 Covid hospitals, nearly 75% are vacant, including 205 ICU beds.
(Inputs by Shrutika Sukhi)