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“The rate at which Covid is spreading, there is no telling when the peak will be reached,” said Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal.
With Delhi reporting 24,000-plus new cases on Saturday, marking a new high for the Capital and the highest daily number for any city in the country so far, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the situation had become “very serious and worrisome”, with oxygen stock, remdesivir and tocilizumab drugs in short supply. “The rate at which Covid is spreading, there is no telling when the peak will be reached,” the CM said.
The increasing caseload has strained the health infrastructure, with hospitals now reporting a shortage of beds, oxygen, remdesivir and tocilizumab, Kejriwal said in a webcast as Delhi figures rose by 24,375 cases and 167 deaths. The positive rate also went up further, to 24.56%.
“Every health system has a threshold and a limit. We are trying to increase beds quickly. We want to ensure that there is no shortage of oxygen and are trying to increase the number of oxygen beds — 1,300 oxygen beds will be readied at the Yamuna Sports Complex and CWG Village in a few days. Another 2,500 beds are also being set up at the Radha Soami Satsang complex in Chhatarpur. I am hoping that we will get 6,000 more beds in two-three days… We cannot afford to be lax at all. We need to be one step ahead.”
The CM said they were also keeping a close watch on laboratories, with reports of delayed Covid testing. “Delhi was the only city where test reports were being given within 24 hours. Now we are receiving complaints that reports are being delayed by two to four days. The reason is that some labs have picked up samples more than their capacity… If a serious patient has got tested and their result is delayed by three days, they could die in the time period… Strict action will be taken against labs picking up more samples than their capacity. DMs have also been told to check the capacity of labs before sending samples to them,” Kejriwal said.
On complaints that hospitals are turning away patients despite the Delhi corona app showing they have vacant beds, the CM said the availability has to be reflected in real time, and if the app shows beds are available but hospitals refuse to admit patients, strict action will be taken against them.
The CM also held a review meeting Saturday afternoon with senior officials, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia and Health Minister Satyendar Jain.
At present, Delhi has 17,246 beds for Covid (including at banquet halls and hotels linked to hospitals), with 13,158 occupied. Of 1,286 ventilator beds, only 124 are vacant; while just 165 of the 2,764 ICU beds without ventilators are available.
Kejriwal appealed to the Centre to increase the number of Covid beds at hospitals run by it. “There are close to 10,000 beds in hospitals run by the Centre. Our request is that at least 50% be reserved for Covid patients and that ICU facilities be provided,” he said during a webcast.
The total Covid cases in the Capital since the beginning of the pandemic are now close to 8.3 lakh.