Mumbai: Mumbai’s intensive care unit (ICU) and ventilator bed occupancy has increased over the past 10 days, even as the city’s overall Covid-19 hospitalizations have registered a decline.
The ongoing third wave, driven by the Omicron variant, started the last week of December and it is already receding in Mumbai. But the city has seen very high daily cases, with a peak reaching 20,971 on January 7. Over the past four days, daily cases have hovered around 6,000.
On January 11, the city had 876 Covid patients in intensive care units and 526 on life support in city hospitals, according to data collated by the Brihanmumbai Corporation (BMC). On that day, the total number of intensive care beds was 2,728 and ventilator beds were 1,541; the occupancy rate was 32% and 34%, respectively.
On January 20, the number of patients in intensive care and ventilation beds was 989 and 584, respectively. Total ICU beds on Thursday were 3,114, and ventilator beds were 1,512 (these are dynamic numbers, as the civic body has the capacity to increase hospital beds); the occupancy rate was therefore 32% and 38%, respectively.
Interestingly, the total number of hospitalizations rose from 7,283 to 4,857, even as the total number of hospital beds in the city fell from 22,445 on January 11 to 23,911 on January 20.
“There is always a lag of a few weeks between regular hospitalizations and ICU and ventilator admissions,” said Dr Shashank Joshi, a member of Maharashtra’s Covid-19 task force. “Those who progress to serious illness require intensive care a few weeks later. So ICU and ventilator admissions are more likely to increase a few days after the peak passes,” he said.
Trends as expected
According to Joshi, the current occupancy of the city’s intensive care unit is largely for the unvaccinated elderly, people with severe comorbidities and those who are vaccinated but have failed to mount a good immune response.
“While Omicron is the predominant strain in the city, the Delta strain also continues to be in circulation. Doctors are seeing patients with lung damage, which indicates that the Delta strain is very present,” he said. -he declares.
The city has recorded an average of six Covid deaths each day this month. With increasing occupancy of intensive care units and ventilators, an increase in the number of deaths is expected.
“Deaths are likely to increase in the coming days as serious patients increase,” said Suresh Kakani, additional city commissioner. “However, a large majority of patients were isolated at home during this wave, and a smaller number required hospitalization, compared to previous waves,” he said, adding that war rooms and medics were urged to get people to seek medical advice and early hospitalization to reduce deaths. “People who have comorbid conditions and age-related risk factors should seek timely medical intervention,” he said.
Doctor Dr Hemant Gupta said intensive care admissions had not increased at an alarming rate. “A portion of patients with serious underlying conditions and those who are unvaccinated end up in intensive care,” said Gupta, who sees patients at St George’s State Hospital. He said the hospital’s 25-bed intensive care unit was fully occupied on Thursday, but only 10 patients were on noninvasive life support. “None of the patients were on mechanical life support requiring intubation,” he said, adding that all intensive care patients were stable.