Only 13 ICU beds have been allocated in Rangpur division to treat critical Covid-19 patients -- three in Dinajpur and 10 in Rangpur -- leaving the six remaining districts to do without.
Two additional ICU beds are reserved for doctors affected by Covid-19 in the division, while 20 others have been kept for non-Covid-19 patients. All these beds are in public hospitals.
There are no ICU facilities at all in government-run hospitals in the other six districts -- Panchagarh, Thakurgaon, Nilphamari, Lalmonirhat, Kurigram, and Gaibandha -- let alone those dedicated for critical Covid-19 patients who may require ICU support.
In total, 1,292 hospital beds are available in 58 upazilas of these eight districts. Of these, 837 are dedicated for Covid-19 patients in isolation wards.
According to the data of the Rangpur divisional office of the Directorate General of Health Services, the 837 beds include 251 in Rangpur, 50 in Kurigram, 96 in Lalmonirhat, 110 in Dinajpur, 50 in Panchagarh, 100 in Thakurgaon, 80 in Gaibandha, and 100 in Nilphamari.
Additionally, 455 beds were readied in isolation wards in the other 50 upazilas of Rangpur division.
COVID-19 CASES RISING
All these districts continue to see a rise in Covid-19 patients. The highest number of patients, 740, are in Rangpur with the lowest, 70, in Lalmonirhat.
As of yesterday, 2,215 people tested positive for coronavirus in these eight districts since March 10.
So far, 38 people have died of Covid-19 and 1,009 have since recovered.
Till yesterday, 170 coronavirus patients have been admitted to hospitals in Rangpur.
According to the DGHS divisional office, there are 60 doctors available in these eight districts to treat Covid-19 patients.
Dr SM Nurunabi, superintendent of the Rangpur Dedicated Corona Isolation Hospital -- which has 10 ICU beds -- said his hospital treated 205 Covid-19 patients as of Friday.
Of these, 111 patients have been released and six have died, he added.
A several doctors in Rangpur division, seeking anonymity, said ICU facilities need to be extended to deal with the rising number of patients.
Rezaur Rahman Rezu, member secretary of the private Dinajpur Coronavirus Protirodh Committee, said it is urgent to increase the number of ICU beds at M Abdur Rahim Medical College and Hospital in Dinajpur Sadar.
"Three ICU beds are not enough to deal with the crisis," he said.
Two other ICU beds at the hospital stand reserved for doctors affected by coronavirus.
Dr Amin Ahmed Khan, Rangpur divisional director of DGHS, said he does not have a definite number of ICU beds in private hospitals.
If needed, private ICU beds and other facilities can also be used to treat coronavirus patients, he added.