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pakistan
Sunday Nov 22 2020
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Half of Karachi's leading hospitals' coronavirus wards filled with 'serious patients'

A paramedic wearing protective gear takes a nasal swab of a woman at a glass booth, to be tested for Covid-19 in Karachi, Pakistan on July 15, 2020. Photo: Reuters

An alarming situation is developing in Karachi where half of the beds at the city’s public and private hospitals’ coronavirus wards have now been occupied with ‘serious patients’ of the infection, The News reported on Sunday.

At least five leading public and private hospitals in the metropolis are denying admission to patients after becoming saturated by coronavirus cases.

17 more succumb to coronavirus in Sindh

The hospitals are directing them to other places. Cases of the infection are surging across the province, as 17 more people succumbed to coronavirus and another 1,199 cases tested positive in a single day on Saturday.

However, the coronavirus death toll has climbed up to 2,816 across the province.

Out of the 500 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds in Karachi, around 260 are filled with COVID-19, according to officials associated with COVID-19 management in Sindh.

They added that in some of the leading public and private health facilities, all the ICU, High Dependency Unit (HDU), and ward beds had become full of patients and they are directing them to other health facilities.

Read more: Sindh records highest coronavirus deaths, infections after three months

“Indus Hospital Karachi, Aga Khan University Hospital, Ziauddin Hospital, Liaquat National Hospital, and Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation have become overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients,” said Prof. Dr Abdul Bari Khan, a member of Sindh Chief Minister’s COVID-19 Task Force while talking to The News.

According to official figures, there were around 13,886 active COVID-19 cases in the province till Saturday morning, of whom 13,333 were at home isolation while 544 patients were admitted to different health facilities. Of them, the condition of 477 was serious while 62 were on life support.

Khan, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of the Indus Health Network (IHN), maintained that Covid-19 positivity had increased five-fold in the province, from 2% to above 10% — which means that of the 10,000 or above tests being conducted daily, over 1000 people were infected with Coronavirus, especially in Karachi and Hyderabad.

“Fortunately, 90% of the infected people remain uninfected but the remaining 10 percent are coming with serious health conditions." 

'Medical facilities under tremendous pressure'

Although during this second wave, most of the people are getting treatment at home through telemedicine, using oxygen, and supportive treatment but still the number of seriously sick is on the rise, and now up to 50% of the beds at the city’s hospitals are occupied with serious patients,” he added.

Read more: Coronavirus numbers rising fast in Sindh, warns Murtaza Wahab

He further said that space was still available at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC), Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK), Lyari General Hospital (LGH), Sindh Services Hospital, and Dow varsity’s Ojha campus, Infectious Diseases Hospital at NIPA Chowrangi, and some other private hospitals but regretted that after getting refused from the five public and private sector leading hospitals’, these facilities were now under tremendous pressure.

Coronavirus spread among healthcare providers

Sindh health department officials said their biggest worry was the spread of Covid-19 among healthcare providers, especially those serving at the public health facilities as they were already facing a shortage of trained and qualified staff while very few volunteers are working at the Covid-19 wards, ICUs, and HDUs at the public health facilities.

“So far around 100 healthcare providers including 67 doctors have lost their lives in the country. The most affected province is Sindh where we have lost around 40 healthcare providers due to complications of Coronavirus infection,” an official of the Sindh health department said.

“We need specialised healthcare providers to deal with very sick Covid-19 patients. If most of the trained and qualified staff contracts the disease and are unable to work, it could be a terrible scenario for us,” the official added.

Meanwhile, authorities have imposed micro smart lockdowns in four districts of Karachi as coronavirus cases are on the rise in the metropolis, according to notifications issued on Saturday.