The number of daily Covid-19 cases in Bengaluru has seen a dramatic 97% decline since the second wave peaked in April. But, the number of ICU cases has been less quick to fall, data shows.
Even though over a seven-day period from June 20 to 27, the number of ICU cases declined by 28% from 518 to 372, the proportion of ICU cases to active cases has never been higher.
On April 30, when Bengaluru Urban hit its second wave peak, only 0.38% of the city’s 2.59 lakh active cases required ICU care. On June 27, this proportion was 0.58% of the 63,473 active cases.
“One of the reasons is we are still finding between 700 and 1,000 cases in the city every day. It is not like the first wave, where after the peak happened, the number of cases eventually fell to 200,” explained D Randeep, Special Commissioner (Health), BBMP.
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But there are other reasons as well, he added.
For example, as per BBMP data, out of 36 people placed in ICU care on June 26, as many as 16 were people who had already been hospitalised and were “stepped up” to ICU care after their condition worsened. Eighteen were new admissions.
The inflow of people coming to Bengaluru from other districts where caseloads are rising and others presenting late at hospitals after neglecting to get tested or getting medical help during the initial stages of the infection are two other factors that are contributing to high ICU occupancy.
While some of the new admissions are late presentation cases including people suffering from ‘Happy Hypoxia,’ one BBMP zonal official stated that a sense of complacency has crept back into the public in the wake of Unlock 1.0.
“People do not want to get tested or have a medical checkup done if they have symptoms unless we are aggressive with them. The third wave appears inevitable,” the official said.
Meanwhile, BBMP issued a new triaging order on June 23, whereby medical staff from 141 primary health centres (PHCs) are delegated to physically triage all new Covd-19 patients identified in their wards.
Randeep said, in the wake of the order, BBMP staff have been aiming to triage 100% of all new cases in person.
“Those who require ICU care will be immediately transferred to a hospital without delay. Nobody can get a bed now by just calling the helpline,” he
Epidemiologist Dr Giridhar Babu noted that ICU cases spend at least 14 days or more in the hospital.
“Therefore, the number of overall ICU cases does take time to dwindle. But another factor is infected people coming to hospitals in Bengaluru Urban from other districts experiencing a surge in cases,” he said.