LAHORE: A sharp increase in confirmed Covid-19 cases across Punjab has further burdened state-run health facilities, taking their bed occupancy ratio to 54 per cent.
The rate increased during the last two weeks or so due to widespread transmission of the virus.
Official figures reported by the health department portray a grim picture as 3,693 people contracted the virus during the last seven days in the province.
Punjab had reported around 3,686 positive cases for the virus during a period of one month starting from March 15, when the first Covid-19 case was spotted.
Most of the confirmed patients were taken care of in Lahore where the 1,000-bed Expo Centre Field Hospital is housing 450 patients, with 45pc bed occupancy.
Ratio may touch 80pc in two weeks
Similarly, the Mayo Hospital houses 420 patients (70pc bed occupancy) while the Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institution 100 patients (100pc bed occupancy).
The health authorities believe that this percentage is likely to reach 80pc in coming two weeks if cases continue to grow at the same rate.
The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) is very much concerned over the increasing number of coronavirus patients and rising death toll.
“We are extremely disturbed that how our hospitals would mange the load of corona patients in future because of the scale of transmission of the virus,” said PMA Secretary Dr Qaisar Sajjad.
He said the government would have to revisit the current health system in order to remove flaws and create more space for coronavirus patients, keeping in view the future requirements.
While sharing the fresh report, a spokesperson for the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department said Punjab reported a record 961 confirmed cases of the virus on Friday and it was the highest figure in a single day so far since the pandemic surfaced in the province.
“The government has allocated 7,753 beds for the corona patients at all the teaching, district and other field hospitals across the province,” he said. Of them, 4,239 had been occupied by the patients.
“We have 6,744 beds for corona patients at all the teaching and field hospitals that fall under the specialised healthcare and medical education department in Punjab,” SH&MED Additional Secretary (development) Nadir Chattha said.
He said 3,370 of them were allocated in teaching hospitals and 3,374 at field hospitals. Of the 6,744 beds, he said 2,261 (34pc) had been occupied by the patients.
“We are going to make available 984 more beds in coming days,” he said.
Of the total admitted patients, Mr Chattha said 40 were in a critical condition, with 34 of them on ventilators. He said so far 186 corona patients had died in Punjab.
On the other hand, of the total 961 confirmed cases on Friday, 488 were reported from Lahore which was also another record number (of people testing positive) in the provincial capital in just a day. Of them, 87 were reported from Gujrat, 77 from Rawalpindi, 60 Faisalabad, 45 Multan and 67 from Muzaffargarrh besides some other cities.
The total number of confirmed cases in Lahore and Punjab rose to 3,856 and 10,033, respectively, on Friday.
Surprisingly, the health department said only one patient died (in Muzaffargarh) of coronavirus in Punjab during the last 24 hours.
Published in Dawn, May 9th, 2020