Coronavirus infections continue to rise across the country with the corona-dedicated hospitals being flooded with new patients, pushing up the demand for ICU (Intensive Care Unit) beds.
According to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), 2,809 new coronavirus cases have been detected and 30 more died in the last 24 hours till Monday morning. At the same time, the rate of daily infection rate rose to 11.19 per cent.Official figures show that both infections and deaths have increased in the country in the last three weeks. The infection rate had been declining since November 30 last year but has started rising from February 14.
Hospital sources said Covid-19 dedicated hospitals across the country are being crowded with patients every day and the patients are struggling to get ICU (Intensive Care Unit) beds.
Talking to the Daily Sun, Dr Farid Hossain Miah, director (hospital) of the DGHS, said “We have already asked the authority concerned of existing Covid-19 hospitals to increase the number of beds to the highest level of their capacity.”
He said they also have already given a directive to restart the Mohakhali DNCC Market Isolation centre immediately to accommodate more patients in the temporary isolation centre.
Claiming that the DGHS has enough medical instruments already to treat the coronavirus patients, Dr Farid Hossain said they also asked the district level hospitals to ensure enough beds for Covid-19 patients in their respective hospitals.
However, Prof Dr ABM Khurshid Alam, director-general of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), recently said he got phone calls that ICU beds were not available.DGHS data said there are a total of 10,450 general beds in hospitals for coronavirus patients across the country, including in Dhaka. Some 2,845 Covid-19 patients were admitted to the hospitals and 7,605 beds remained vacant until March 22.
Moreover, there are a total of 540 ICU beds for Covid-19 patients while 298 patients were admitted and 242 beds were vacant during the same time.
The DGHS report further said 24,711 oxygen cylinders, 746 high-flow nasal cannulas and 702 oxygen concentrators are available in hospitals across the country.
ABM Khurshid Alam said the authorities concerned have already given directives to all the hospitals to fight the new wave of coronavirus.
Letters have been sent to civil surgeons, asking them to keep the hospitals and ICU beds prepared for Covid-19 patients, he added.
However, hospital sources said among the vacant general and ICU beds, most of the general and ICU beds are in private hospitals while maximum ICU and general beds in public hospitals are not vacant.
Visiting different private and public hospitals over the last few days, hospitals were seen flooded with patients with fever and other symptoms of Covid-19 while the Covid-19 testing centres are also more crowded than before.
Coronavirus testing is being carried out in 219 testing centres across the country including in Dhaka. These include 118 RT-PCR testing labs, 27 GeneXpert labs and 72 rapid antigen labs.
Health experts warned if steps are not taken to control the spread of the virus further immediately, the situation may take a serious turn.
Talking to the Daily Sun, Dr Nazrul Islam, member of National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19 told the Daily Sun “The government should apply mop up system to control the coronavirus situation. As part of moping up, they should detect the patient and isolate affected areas.”
He also suggested increasing the number of coronavirus testing facilities across the country.
Dr Nazrul Islam, also Vice-Chancellor of the BSMMU, further said there is no alternative to maintaining health guidelines including wearing mask and washing hands and maintaining social distance to control the coronavirus situation.
Meanwhile, a study of researchers of Bangladesh in collaboration with Malaysia's Monash University has revealed that 34 unique mutations of the coronavirus were found in Bangladesh as the SARS COV-2 virus that causes Covid-19, has mutated 4,604 times in Bangladesh since the first week of December last year.