With a fresh surge in coronavirus cases fuelled by highly contagious Omicron variant coupled with Delta strain, there was a rise in hospital admissions of Covid-19 patients across the country, especially in Dhaka.
“The rate of hospital bed occupancy with Covid-19 patients has increased in the country. But the admission rate is still relatively low given the intensity of the spike in cases,” Dr Md Farid Hossain Miah, director (Hospital) of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), told the Daily Sun on Sunday.
Hospital sources said the admission of coronavirus-infected patients saw a rise in the last two weeks in the country as the daily infection rate of coronavirus has already crossed 30 percent.
The rate of hospital bed occupancy has increased sharply in the capital than other parts of the country while the number of severe patients is comparatively less this time than the second wave of the virus, the sources added.
According to the DGHS data released on Sunday, there were 3,162 general beds and 376 ICU beds in 15 government corona-designated hospitals in the capital. Of them, 1,016 or 32 percent general beds and 88 or 23 percent ICU beds were occupied till Sunday morning.
Out of total 13,415 general beds and 1,251 ICU beds across the country, 2,257 or 16 percent and 276 or 22 percent respectively remained occupied.
In Chattogram city, there are 557 general and 33 ICU beds in public hospitals. Of them, 103 general beds and four ICU beds remained occupied.
Besides, 727 patients were admitted to general beds and 138 others were in ICU beds in hospitals across the country, including in the capital, during the period.
A total of 59 deaths and 52,342 infections were reported from coronavirus across the country, including in Dhaka, in five days from January 19 to January 23. During the period, 188,421 samples were tested.
In the first five days of the current month, the numbers were 18 and 3,268 respectively while 95,413 samples were tested during the period.
Health ministry sources said the government has already increased the number of beds in hospitals to 20,000 for the treatment of corona patients amid the fresh surge in virus cases.
It has also set up a field hospital at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) and a temporary hospital in Mohakhali DNCC Market in the capital.
According to the DGHS, 14 more Covid-19 patients died and 10,906 infections were recorded in the last 24 hours till Sunday morning. The daily infection rate has been recorded at 31.29 percent.
The number of total infections has risen to 1,685,136 with the overall positivity rate of 13.91 percent. Some 34,854 samples were tested in the last 24 hours to detect the new cases.
The national death toll has increased to 28,223 with a case fatality rate of 1.67 percent.
Some 782 more Covid-19 patients recovered in the last 24 hours, raising the total number of recoveries to 1,556,861. The recovery rate stands at 92.39 percent.
Highly contagious Omicron is fuelling the surge in infections as the new variant accounts for 62.8 percent of cases, according GISAID.
Meanwhile, speaking at the daily health bulletin of the DGHS, its spokesperson Prof Dr Nazmul Islam on Sunday said the number of patients has been increasing day by day since end of December. “The number of patients has been increasing in hospitals. The number of patients in hospitals has increased a lot compared to the last 3-4 months. If this trend continues, there’ll be a strain on the country’s healthcare system,” he said.
The DGHS official, however, said Delta variant is still predominant at the community level but Omicron variant is gradually taking its place.
About the signs and symptoms of Omicron, he said 73 percent of people infected with the strain have runny nose while 68 percent have headache, 64 percent experience fatigue, 60 percent sneeze, 60 percent have sore throat and 44 percent experience coughing. "We have to keep in mind that the symptoms [of Omicron] are similar to those of seasonal flu and influenza. Therefore, in any case, we should seek medical advice,” Nazmul said.