Amid high Covid fatality rate experts warn of ventilators’ shortage in Punjab

Published December 3, 2020
Experts warned that the situation could get out of control in the weeks to come if additional arrangements were not made for the critical patients. — Reuters
Experts warned that the situation could get out of control in the weeks to come if additional arrangements were not made for the critical patients. — Reuters

LAHORE: With Covid fatality rate reaching an alarming level of 2.5 percent in Punjab on Wednesday, the bed occupancy has also risen to 1,169 in both public and private sector hospitals across the province.

Particularly, an increase has been witnessed in the admission of critical patients to the hospitals. The experts have observed that during the second spike of the coronavirus many of the patients were being brought to hospitals with low oxygen saturation within days of getting infected.

According to Wednesday’s officially updated figures, the number of Covid-19 critical patients on ventilators at the intensive care units (ICUS) of the public and private hospitals in Punjab has reached 158. Of them, 142 patients are on ventilator at the public sector hospitals.

As per official data 469 serious patients were being treated in the hospitals’ high dependency units (HDUs) in the province. These patients were brought to the HDUs of the health facilities after their oxygen saturation level dropped down to an alarming level.

The figures show that because of the rising number of critical patients, 21 percent of the total allocated ventilators in the ICUs of the public and private hospitals notified for the Covid-19 patients have been occupied so far.

Presently, just 595 ventilators are available for Covid patients in the notified hospitals, which, according to experts, were insufficient given the rapidly increasing number of those being brought there in a critical condition.

They said the adult patients aged between 30-40 years were also developing multiple complications, particularly relating to the chest or having breathing issues a few days after the onset of the infection.

The experts warned that the situation could get out of control in the weeks to come if additional arrangements were not made for the critical patients and the people continued to ignore preventive measures.

The official data further showed that the number of active cases in Punjab also reached 18,465, which was recorded 20,879 in July when the pandemic was at its peak in the province.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Punjab reported a record 778 new infections in a day during the second Covid-19 wave, besides the death of 30 critical patients.

Of the new cases, 447 were reported in Lahore, where the number of positive cases reached 59,231, 97 in Rawalpindi, 48 in Faisalabad 48 and 36 in Multan.

Other cases were reported in Jhelum, Chiniot, Jhang, Sheikhupura, Bahawalpur, Lodhran, Sargodha, Attock, Sialkot, Nankana, Norowal, Kasur, Khanewal, Gujrat, Khushab, Okara, Pakpattan, Gujranwala, DG Khan, Bhakkar, Vehari etc.

The total number of the confirmed cases in Punjab reached 120,356, while of deaths 3,066.

Of the latest coronavirus-related deaths, nine occurred in Multan, six in Rawalpindi, five in Lahore, three in Sargodha, while others were reported in Bahawalpur, Bhakar, Faisalabad, Muzaffargarh, Pakpattan and Rahim Yar Khan.

Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2020

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