As Covid-19 cases spiral, private hospitals feel the heat

Need of providing more beds likely to be felt in coming days

As Covid-19 cases spiral, private hospitals feel the heat

File photo

Aparna Banerji

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 2

About a fortnight ago, doctors of private hospitals had warned of a system collapse if private hospitals were brought into the loop of healthcare institutions admitting Covid patients. However, with the rising tally, there is no other option but to include them in fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Jalandhar district among many other cities across the country has miserably failed to flatten the Covid curve as the number of patients is rising in private hospitals, adding to the administration’s worry.

From 733 on the first day of July to 2,517 today, July has been the key month during which community spread in the district was distinctly established. Lax contact tracing coupled with opening up of the lockdown have led to a situation in which the district has been witnessing a spike of 80 to 100 patients daily for the last week.

Besides, with a marginal increase in the death rate as well — at times three to four deaths per day — this entire scenario has put more burden on healthcare. While the district administration brought private hospitals into the loop to facilitate better emergency healthcare in the fight against Covid, there is a flip side to it too. The private hospitals – which were the back-up plan for the fight against Covid – now serve as frontline units in the fight against the pandemic. Conversely, there are also reports that some of the private hospitals are actively taking in patients to rake in big dividends.

While four private hospitals – NHS Hospital, Patel Hospital, Johal Hospital and Capitol Hospital – are daily adding to the break-up of Covid patients being reported in Jalandhar. Around a fortnight ago, none of the private institutions were included in the health bulletin except the IMA facility. Occasionally, PIMS also reports a couple of patients. A total of 13 private healthcare institutions were to begin admitting Covid patients from August 1. A majority of them have already started that. More hospitals will be joining in a day or two.

Of the total positive patients in Jalandhar, 88 are currently in the Civil Hospital, 16 at the IMA centre at Shahkot, 187 at the level 1 centre at the Meritorious School, 109 under home isolation, 13 at the Military Hospital, 44 at the BSF facility, 10 at Patel Hospital, 18 at NHS Hospital, 11 at Capitol Hospital and six at Johal Hospital.

Growing concerns over bed capacity

The growing concerns are that with the peak yet to start where the new patients will go when the numbers increase further. Many of the hospitals are already filled to the capacity. As per the health bulletin today, there are 10 patients at Patel Hospital, 18 at NHS, 11 at Capitol, 6 at Johal and 16 at the IMA facility.

“If Covid-19 persists for a year, we fear a total collapse of health care because all power, resources, medical care have to be strained 24x7 in times of the pandemic,” said Dr BS Johal, owner of Johal Hospital.

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