BHUBANESWAR: With the COVID-19 cases spiraling, Odisha has started to feel the pinch of shortage of health infrastructure to deal with the fast intensifying crisis. Critical care is falling far short of requirement in the face of increasing number of serious cases.
Already intensive care units (ICUs) at COVID hospitals in Capital city Bhubaneswar are operating at full capacity while 38 pc of ventilators are currently in use. The city has 70 beds in ICUs with 45 ventilators.
While all ICU beds have been occupied, leaving no bed for new patients, 17 of the ventilators are in use. Odisha is also witnessing a rise in patients requiring intensive care and ventilator with oxygen support.
The number of admissions to ICUs has doubled along with a steady increase of patients on ventilator support. The State has 35 Dedicated COVID Hospitals (DCHs) having a capacity of 5,577 beds including 422 ICU beds and 225 ventilators in 29 districts barring Nuapada. Bhubaneswar that comes under Khurda district has two DCHs with 1,025 beds, including 70 ICU and 45 ventilators.
Cuttack has two hospitals with 300 beds including 39 in ICU and 10 ventilators. The worst-hit Ganjam has 50 ICU beds, all fitted with ventilators, but only two patients are admitted as most of the seriously ill patients are shifted to Bhubaneswar and Cuttack for the reasons best known to the health authorities.
The mineral rich Keonjhar and Sundargarh, where the infection is rising fast, have two hospitals each with 134 (19 ICU) and 400 beds (25 ICU) respectively. The rest of the districts have one DCH each with maximum 210 beds in Deogarh to minimum 75 beds in Jagatsinghpur.
While worst hit districts like Gajapati, Nayagarh, Balangir, Mayurbhanj and Kendrapara have 10 ICU beds each, other districts with high cases - Jajpur, Balasore, Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur have 15, 20, 4 and 5 ICU beds respectively.
Rayagada, Kandhamal and Boudh do not have ICU beds. Except the ICUs, other beds in the COVIDhospitals lack oxygen supply facility. This apart, the State has 178 COVID Care Centres (CCCs) with 21,059 beds in all 30 districts to treat patients classified as either mild or moderately ill.
Health and Family Welfare department sources said if cases spiral, only seriously ill patients will be admitted in the DCHs while mild and moderately ill patients will be treated at CCCs. Reports suggest that among those infected with COVID-19, up to 20 to 30 percent develop severe symptoms requiring hospitalisation. Rates many vary, but among those who are hospitalised, up to 10 pc need ICU support.
Although additional 1,441 beds have been approved in three CCCs and one more DCH is coming up in a week, it has only 15 ICU beds. Health experts opined that the State Government should take over private hospitals and convert those into DCHs keeping in mind the growth of COVID-19 cases at its peak.
Health department, however, claimed that there are adequate ICU beds available in COVID hospitals across the State. "Presently the overall bed occupancy in ICUs is only 36 pc. For Bhubaneswar- Cuttack twin cities, the ICU beds are available in Ashwini COVID Hospital at Cuttack," the department tweeted.