The Delhi government’s decision to turn 14 private hospitals in the city into “full COVID-19” hospitals has put the non-Covid patients in a spot.
Amid a rise in coronavirus cases in the national capital, the government on Monday asked 14 private hospitals to not admit patients other than those infected with Covid.
Delhi has been recording more than 10,000 cases since the last three days. Today’s new count of 13,468 cases — highest single-day spike so far — took the total caseload to 7,50,156 infections.
However, the sudden decision on reserving hospitals has left non-Covid patients hassled.
Veena Goel’s 82-year-old mother Saroj Gupta, who is a cardiac patient and has undergone two angioplasties, was admitted to the Fortis hospital in Shalimar Bagh for 12 days. However, this morning, the hospital said that she has to be discharged as they can only admit Covid patients.
Ms Goel is worried but admits that she saw this coming. “We knew that things were bad about Covid. When we admitted my mother here, one of the floors was dedicated to Covid. Then an ICU on the same floor was dedicated to Covid. It didn’t come to me as a surprise but we were really scared when we read in the news that 14 hospitals would be dedicated to Covid. But I would say that I am thankful to God that she is stable.”
“We have made arrangements at home — a separate room for her and a 24/7 nurse,” she added.
Similarly, 23-year-old Himanshu Ghilodiya — who came along with his family from near Sonepat in Haryana for a hip-replacement surgery scheduled for today — was turned back from the Max Hospital in Shalimar Bagh in Delhi.
Mr Ghilodiya said: “We are definitely facing difficulty due to this Covid spike but if doctors are not operating then we are helpless. First, they gave us date for today but after these guidelines, they are saying that the surgery may happen more than a week later.”
“I wish the government had come out with its notification in a manner that it gave the hospitals as well as patients some time to rearrange the schedule. We are getting to know after turning up at the hospital,” he added.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal earlier today asked non-Covid patients for their cooperation.
“There are several kinds of planned surgeries — like knee-replacement surgery can be delayed by two to three months. For non-Covid emergencies, we still have sufficient facilities across Delhi’s hospitals. There are a large number of planned surgeries that happen on a daily basis and only very few emergencies take place. I appeal to you all that please delay your planned surgeries,” the chief minister said.
According to data, Covid patients are at a higher risk of not finding hospital beds as 91 per cent of the intensive care unit (ICU) beds are occupied as compared to 74 per cent for non-Covid patients.
There are a total of 3,154 ICU beds available for COVID-19 patients in Delhi, out of which 2,869 are occupied, according to Delhi government’s coronavirus mobile app.
For non-Covid patients, out of 1,671 ICU beds, 1,244 are occupied.
Nineteen private hospitals have been directed to reserve at least 80 per cent of their ICU beds for Covid treatment while 82 private hospitals have been asked to keep 60 per cent of their ICU beds for Covid patients in Delhi, according to the government’s order.
Delhi recorded 81 Covid-related deaths in the last 24 hours, highest since December 3 when 82 deaths were recorded, taking the total death count to 11,436. The positivity rate rose to 13.14 percent from 12.44 percent a day ago. On Monday, Delhi had recorded 11,491 coronavirus cases and 72 deaths.