Empty beds hard to find in port city hospitals
With the number of Covid-19 patients in Chattogram increasing every day, almost all Covid-dedicated beds at hospitals are occupied. According to health experts, the ongoing trend indicates that the infection rate in the district may peak in some days.
Moreover, all ICU beds at government hospitals are occupied, while around five to six ICU beds in total are vacant at private hospitals, said sources.
At government hospitals, around 500 beds have been dedicated for Covid-19 patients, with all facilities including central oxygen system and high flow nasal cannula (HFNC).
Of the 500, Chattogram Medical College Hospital (CMCH) dedicated 300 beds, Chattogram General Hospital (CGH) has 150, and Bangladesh Institute of Tropical and Infectious Diseases (BITID) 35.
Although 14 upazila health complexes dedicated 15 to 20 beds each, most do not have HFNC facility, and many do not even have central oxygen supply.
Private hospitals and clinics dedicated some 500 beds, but many cannot afford treatment there.
Only 28 ICU beds are for Covid-19 patients at government hospitals. Of those, CGH has 18 beds and CMCH 10. BITID set up a five-bed ICU in May, but the unit is yet to start operation due to lack of an electric generator.
At private hospitals, although there are some 50 ICU beds. Around 90 percent of the beds have already been occupied, said sources.
"I rushed to all government hospitals for an ICU bed for my mother, who has Covid-19, but in vain. Then I went to five private hospitals, but all ICU beds were occupied. At last, I got one at Parkview Hospital," said Imtiaz Uddin, a resident of port city's Pahartoli.
"Although we are from middle-income group, I had no choice but to go for a private hospital," he said.
The district witnessed the highest number of infections in a day on Tuesday, as 1,003 cases were detected from 2,869 samples, putting the positivity rate at 35 percent. Ten patients died that day.
On Monday, 955 cases were detected from 2,649 samples and 10 people died that day. On Sunday, 2,174 samples were tested, and 821 were positive. Nine patients died that day.
Contacted, CMCH Director Brig Gen SM Humayun Kabir said 284 patients were admitted to the hospital's 300-bed Covid-19 ward yesterday. All 10 ICU beds were occupied.
"We have already stopped regular admission in general wards and general surgery due to the surge of Covid-19 patients," he said.
Dr Abdur Rob, senior consultant of medicine and head of Covid-19 ward at CGH, said 140 patients were admitted to the hospital's 150-bed Covid-19 ward yesterday. All the 18 ICU beds were filled up.
Sources at BITID said only five beds at the 35-bed Covid-19 ward were vacant yesterday.
In private hospitals, patients also outnumbered beds.
A total of 130 patients remained admitted at the 120-bed Covid ward of Chattogram Maa-O-Shishu Hospital till yesterday; 70 at the 60-bed ward of Parkview Hospital; 52 at the 50-bed ward of Metropolitan Hospital, and 46 at the 45-bed ward of Max Hospital.
Public health expert and head of BITID laboratory Prof Dr Shakeel Ahmed said the infection rate is likely going to peak in the district in the coming days, before going down. People have to follow health rules and get vaccinated.
Prof Dr Sujat Paul, head of medicine and Covid ward at CMCH, said prominence of the Delta variant and infections in rural areas are mainly responsible for rising Covid-19 cases.
"If number of patients keeps increasing at the present rate, the district's health system will collapse," Dr Paul said. "Where will you get ICU? ICUs cannot be installed overnight. We have to be cautious and conscious; there is no other alternative."