Bengaluru hospitals reopening Covid-19 isolation wings

Hospitalisation numbers are still quite low compared to the first and second waves
Last Updated 18 August 2022, 00:15 IST

With rising Covid admissions, some private hospitals in Bengaluru have been reopening the Covid isolation facilities they had closed earlier. While hospitals hardly had Covid admissions for a few months, they have started again about a month ago, say doctors.

Hospitalisation numbers are still quite low compared to the first and second waves, but the state Health Department too is planning to ensure sufficient beds in case of a surge.

Dr Manjunath B G, consultant interventional pulmonologist at Manipal Hospital, Whitefield, says the hospital now admits at least two or three Covid cases a day, mostly from the high-risk categories like post-transplant patients or those with comorbidities. Since there were hardly any admissions a few months ago, the hospital wasn’t operating a separate Covid wing. “But once admissions started again, a separate floor was opened. We admit only those who require oxygen. Among those with comorbidities, we are seeing more lung involvement than it was one or two months ago,” says Dr Manjunath. The Whitefield hospital has six Covid patients, all on oxygen support.

The three Apollo Hospitals in Bengaluru have 10 to 25 Covid cases at any given time.

Apollo too had closed its isolation facilities as there were no admissions, but reopened these a month ago. Dr Ravindra Mehta, who heads Apollo Hospitals’ Advanced Pulmonary Services, says a few patients prefer to get tested for Covid in the first place. “Of those who test positive, about 20% require oxygen therapy, of whom nearly 5% need ventilators. There’s definitely a rise in admissions.”

However, he adds that over half the admissions in Apollo Hospitals happen for social reasons -- of those who are elderly, are worried or unable to isolate at home, or are on preventive remdesivir therapy -- rather than for critical healthcare. Since these patients leave the hospital quicker, beds become available more easily.

Dr Pavan Yadav, lead consultant - Interventional Pulmonology at Aster RV Hospital, also says Covid cases have increased in the past month. The hospital currently has 4-5 patients each on ventilator and oxygen support.

Smaller hospitals seem to be waiting to make a decision. At Santosh Hospital, Dr Santosh Saklecha, specialist in internal medicine and rheumatology, says they may start a separate ICU facility and a five-bed ward for Covid if cases increase further. The hospital hasn’t had to use a separate wing for about a year.

“Many private hospitals have not started separate wings, but are planning to do this in case of a bigger spurt,” says Dr Santosh, who is also executive committee member of the Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes’ Association (PHANA).

State Health Commissioner D Randeep says the the number of hospitalisations and deaths have been increasing across the state since July.

(Published 17 August 2022, 18:56 IST)

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