Worrying ventilator occupancy rate in Punjab: 181 critical Covid patients shifted to hospitals in a day

Published December 30, 2020
A man wearing a protective mask walks outside a shopping area in Karachi on Dec 29. — Reuters
A man wearing a protective mask walks outside a shopping area in Karachi on Dec 29. — Reuters

LAHORE: The ventilator occupancy rate reached a worrying level on Tuesday in the Punjab’s government-run hospitals after as many as 181 critical Covid-19 patients were shifted to these facilities during the last 24 hours.

The sudden influx of critical patients of the infection in the state-run hospitals of the province has alarmed their respective managements who apprehend that they may run shot of these life-saving machines soon if the trend continues.

According to the official figures, 147 patients were struggling for life at the public and private sector hospitals of Punjab on Monday. The number, however, suddenly jumped to 328 on Tuesday with the arrival of 181 critical patients with multiple complications brought to the public hospitals within a few hours. All of them had to be put on ventilators on the night between Monday and Tuesday, creating an emergency-like situation, prompting the respective administrations to make additional arrangements for ventilators.

Punjab has already been registering a persistent and sharp increase in the bed occupancy ratio at the intensive care units (ICUs) of the public hospitals, especially in Lahore that continues to be a coronavirus hotspot in the province.

Similarly, with most of the critical Covid patients reporting in Lahore, the ventilator occupancy has also increased tremendously in the facilities of the provincial capital. As per official data, the ventilator occupancy has reached 75pc in the Jinnah Hospital, Lahore, where 33 out of total 44 beds with the life-saving equipment had been occupied.

Similarly, in the Mayo Hospital, out of the total 115 ventilators allocated for the Covid-19 patients, 73pc were occupied, as per the Tuesday’s official report.

Another major teaching institute, the Services Hospital was facing the worst situation where all the 22 ventilators allocated for Covid patients have been occupied and the critical patients were being refused admission because of non-availability of the facility.

As for the Pakistan Liver and Kidney Institute (PKLI), Lahore, 66pc of the beds with ventilators allocated for the critical Covid-19 patients have been occupied.

According to the report, out of the total 267 ventilators designated for Covid patients in Lahore’s public sector hospitals, 56pc have been occupied.

As per sources in the health department, the situation was no different in the state-run hospitals in the rest of the province.

Rawalpindi was the second worst-hit city in Punjab after Lahore where the infection was spreading at a worrying pace. The latest report shows that 88pc of the total beds with ventilators at Rawalpindi’s public hospitals have been occupied.

Similarly, in the state-run hospitals of Faisalabad, a major city of the province, the ventilator occupancy ratio has reached 55pc, while it was an alarming 72pc in Gujrat.

The report suggested that 47pc of the total allocated ventilators in the government tertiary care hospitals in the rest of the province have been occupied by critical patients of the virus.

Meanwhile, the Covid-19 death toll in Punjab reached 3,959 after 38 more patients succumbed to the virus across the province during the last 24 hours.

Similarly, 522 more people tested positive for the infection during the same period in Punjab, taking the total confirmed cases to 136,669 in the province.

Of the new cases, 290 were reported in Lahore, where the total positive cases reached 67,275 -- nearly 50pc of the total infections reported in Punjab since it was hit by the pandemic.

Other positive cases surfaced in Rawalpindi, Kasur, Toba Tek Singh, Hafizabad, Dera Ghazi Khan, Jhang, Okara, Sahiwal, Sialkot, Vehari, Gujranwala, Nankana, Rahim Yar Khan, Rajanpur, Mandi Bahauddin, Chiniot, Sargodha, Gujrat, Chakwal, Bhakkar, Mianwali, Sheikhupura, Jhelum, Khushab, Muzaffargarh and Bahawalnagar.

According to the official update, most of the Covid-19 deaths occurred in the three major cities of the province -- Lahore 1,564, Faisalabad 342 and Multan 301.

Published in Dawn, December 30th, 2020

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