2 weeks into curbs, Covid beds start falling vacant in Kolkata hospitals | Kolkata News

KOLKATA: Ever since strict restrictions were imposed by the state government on May 16, there has been a significant decline in the number of Covid admissions across the city’s private hospitals, with more vacancies in general wards than in ICUs and HDUs.
At least two leading hospitals said their critical-care beds, too, have started falling vacant since last week for the first time since early-April when the second wave struck. Enquiries for admissions, too, have dropped sharply and waiting lists have been done away with in some hospitals. The slide has been so sharp at some hospitals that two are even planning to open up floors for non-Covid patients as early as next week.
Addressing a press meet on Saturday, CM Mamata Banerjee confirmed the trend saying positivity rate in Bengal has dropped to18%-19% from 33%.
On Saturday, Kolkata reported 1,735 new cases, a sharp dip from the 3,951 recorded on May 15, when the Covid restrictions were imposed. Similarly, the number of fresh cases across Bengal dipped to11,514 on Saturday from19,511 on May15.
At the three centres of AMRI Hospitals, there has been a 20%-25% drop in occupancy at the general Covid wards over the last fortnight and 5%-10% vacancy in ICU and HDU units since last week.
“Before the restrictions were imposed, we had 100% occupancy across all our three centres. At least four patients were on the waiting list for each bed. Now, we have no waiting list and the waiting time for an ICU bed has come down to just 24 hours,” said AMRI CEO Rupak Barua. With the restrictions continuing, he expects occupancy to drop by another10% in a week.
Covid admissions at RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences (RTIICS) have reduced by 30% over the last one week after remaining fully occupied for a month.
The positivity rate at RTIICS has come down to 25%-30% this week compared to 50% in the beginning of May, said R Venkatesh, zonal head of RTIICS. “Ward occupancy is around 60% and critical care occupancy is 80%,” he said.
Since ICU occupancy has also started coming down over the past week, the Narayana group plans to convert one floor at the Narayana Multispecialty Hospital into a non-Covid section. “Depending on further reduction in Covid cases and an increase in non-Covid patients, we will keep adding the remaining floors for non-Covid treatment by the first week of June,” Venkatesh said.
Since mid-May, occupancy at Peerless Hospital has slid from 100% to around 95%. “Almost everyone is getting a bed at both our wards and ICU. If this continues, we may start reconverting Covid beds into non-Covid ones,” said CEO Sudipta Mitra.
With enough general beds available, satellite facilities run by private hospitals have now become practically empty. While a few hospitals are planning to close them, others will take a call in three to four weeks. “Satellite facilities are an extension of the hospital. But since we have about 40-odd general beds empty and are expecting a further decline in bed occupancy, we are planning to close our satellite facility for now,” said Simmardeep Gill, COO CK Birla Hospitals CMRI.
“Our satellite facility with 50 beds is practically empty,” said Pradip Tondon, CEO Belle Vue Clinic. Medica Superspecialty Hospital has closed one of its two satellite facilities where occupancy had dropped to zero.
“The number of ICU patients hasn’t declined much, but the restrictions since May 16 has pulled down the number of general ward patients,” said consultant Arindam Biswas.

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