Maharashtra: Only seven districts will have enough isolation beds

According to these projections, Nagpur, Pune, Nashik, Chandrapur, Yavatmal and Chandrapur will be the worst-hit districts.

Only seven out of Maharashtra’s 36 districts will have enough isolation beds by May 11 for a projected rise in Covid-19 cases, the state government has red-flagged based on its calculations. According to these projections, Nagpur, Pune, Nashik, Chandrapur, Yavatmal and Chandrapur will be the worst-hit districts.

The government has made these projections taking into account the current growth rate of cases to understand what the infrastructure demands would be for a “worst case scenario”. The projections were shared in the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

Nagpur, set to be the worst hit, is heading towards a shortfall of over 43,000 isolation beds if it touches the projected 1.13 lakh active cases by May 11. The district will fall short by 8,679 oxygen beds, 1,247 ICUs and 455 ventilators.

Nashik will also fall short of beds if its active caseload crosses the expected 95,000-mark. There will be a dearth of 38,615 beds, including 6,253 oxygen beds, 1,535 ICUs and 29 ventilators. In Pune, 1.2 lakh active cases are predicted by May 11 and the district will fall short by 26,345 isolation beds and 4,097 oxygen beds. Thane is expected to have a shortfall of 14,430 beds if its active caseload reaches 79,095.

Districts have been given the estimates and directed to scale up beds.

In Akola division, deputy director in charge Dr Rajkumar Chavan said they are going to start a 200-bed jumbo centre and 50-bed dedicated Covid health centre.

“We will get 250 more oxygen beds. This won’t go waste, as a third wave is also expected,” he added.

Only Mumbai, Jalgaon, Dhule and Amravati are set to face no shortage in the number of beds, ICU or ventilator, the survey showed. All these districts are currently showing a decline in new cases. Mumbai, however, plans to set up more jumbo centres in Malad and Dadar and also scale up its intensive care treatment to prepare for a third wave.

In rural districts, the government plans to link patients with doctors in urban areas to monitor those needing ICU and ventilator treatment. Officials said that high definition cameras will be installed to monitor ICU patients and allow specialists sitting in other cities to direct how the person should be treated.

In Chandrapur, over 40,000 active cases are expected, leading to a shortfall of 16,995 isolation beds, 3,989 oxygen beds, 954 ICUs and 249 ventilators. Yavatmal will fall short by 13,683 isolation beds if projected cases cross 39,000. The district will require 3,000 more oxygen beds and 760 additional ICU beds.

Mumbai, where the spike in cases started in February, has shown signs of having passed the second peak. It is expected to have 64,500 active cases by May 11, and will still have over 26,000 beds vacant. The city’s positivity rate has been on a consistent decline this month. From 27.9 per cent on April 4, it came down to 19.1 per cent by April 14 and 9.01 per cent on April 29. The city’s positivity rate is much lower than state average. Until a week ago, Mumbai was struggling with dearth of ventilators and ICUs. Now, with rapid decline in new cases this week, it had 35 ICU and six ventilators vacant in hospitals on Friday morning.

Amravati is seeing a decline in new cases although its death rate still remains high. Other districts that will have enough isolation beds by May 11 are Dhule, Nandurbar, Solapur, Jalgaon and Ahmednagar.

At least 13 districts will fall short of enough ventilators, 18 will witness dearth of ICUs and 25 districts will fall short of oxygen beds, the projections stated.

“We are trying to speed up vaccination to increase immunity in the population. But when the next phase of immunisation will begun is still not clear. It depends on how fast we can get more vaccines,” said Dr Archana Patil, Director (Family Welfare), Directorate of Health Services.

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