CHENNAI: Only about 35 per cent of beds are vacant in Chennai’s tertiary hospitals as of April 18, according to data shared by the health department.
Out of the 4368 available beds in the five hospitals (RGGGH, Stanley, KMCH, Omandurar, and Kings), 2826 beds are occupied and 1542 beds are vacant.
Out of the 4363 beds, suspected Covid patients occupy 714. Officials say they would continue to be under treatment until they test negative.
Doctors with the government hospitals said that bed status keeps changing every hour and presently, young patients with Covid are showing severe symptoms.
“It is a double challenge as both young and the elderly are coming now. However, we are ramping up beds adequately and creating newer wards. There won’t be any shortage,” said a doctor of a popular government hospital, who did not want to be named.
Similarly, in the 11 Covid health centres, out of the 1800 beds, 1057 are vacant.
The health centres are set up by the Corporation for mild to moderate patients who may require treatment, and these centres feature all the peripheral hospitals in the city such as the Communicable Diseases Hospital, RSRM hospital, ESI Ayanavaram, and Tambaram TB hospitals.
Officials said the health centres are also equipped with oxygen and always-available ambulance facilities.
“This was set up only in the second wave to reduce the burden on the tertiary hospitals. Many people with mild to moderate symptoms directly go to King's or Omandurar, without referrals. To avoid that, we set this up and they are monitored with expertise,” said a corporation official.
Meanwhile, the Covid care centres are the ones with huge vacancies. Out of the 11,645 available beds, 1373 are occupied and the rest is vacant.
Officials said that the care centers were established only for mild patients and fever-camp referrals. “Most of these patients are now opting for home quarantine and do not wish to stay in care centers,” said a corporation official.
The city has 14 major Covid care centers, attached to the major tertiary hospitals. Four of these care centers in Athipattu have more than 1,000 beds.
“Doctors from the government tertiary hospitals monitor the patients in the respective care center which is attached to their hospital,” said the Corporation official.
Overall, the city has 12,972 beds vacant out of the 17,813 available beds, as per health department data.