As per the State government dashboard, where real-time information about the availability of beds are regularly updated, the city hospitals had only around 430 oxygen beds and around 50 ICU beds unoccupied, as of Monday evening, which is much lesser than the daily cases being reported.
When contacted, a Chennai Corporation official said that around 80 per cent of the patients do not require oxygen or ICU beds as they are sent to home quarantine or COVID Care Centres, depending on the severity of their symptoms. “To manage the beds, we would shift the patients in oxygen beds to normal beds when their symptoms recede. They will be discharged from normal beds after observing their recovery further, “ the official added. On the other hand, patients and their relatives are facing an uphill task in finding beds as most of the hospitals, including private hospitals, are occupied. “It is very difficult to get beds in the city without recommendations from officials or doctors. Even if we get beds, they discharge the patients in three or four days,” M Vishnupriya, a recovered COVID patient, opined.
With the cases expected to reach the peak by the end of this month, the civic body has taken measures to create 1,500 oxygen beds at the hospitals and COVID Care Centres under its control. “There are around 5,000 oxygen beds in government and private hospitals in Chennai. New beds are being created by the State Health Department. We do not send patients in need of medical observation back without providing them beds, “ the official added. Based on an announcement by the civic body, as many as nine private hospitals have received permission to run private COVID Care Centres. The private hospitals are allowed to tie up hotels to run such centres. As per the announcement, the civic body would permit private hospitals to run centres without delay.