Coronavirus claimed five more lives on Tuesday, the highest single-day deaths so far, taking the death toll to 17, according to Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR).
Meanwhile, 41 more people tested positive for the virus on the day, with a total of 164 positive cases so far.
The health authorities have kept 7,693 isolation beds ready in different hospitals across the country for treating the coronavirus patients.
And some 112 intensive care beds have been prepared for those requiring critical care – it is no way enough, considering a worrisome surge in infections and deaths with each passing day.
Moreover, Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds have not been made available yet in all divisions though isolation beds have been prepared there.
According to the health directorate, there are 1,550 isolation beds in hospitals inside the capital and 6,143 beds in Dhaka and other divisions.
Besides, 79 ICU beds have been kept ready in Dhaka division and 33 in other divisions. And there are 40 dialysis beds for the patients who also suffer from kidney diseases.
Mymensingh division has 1,030 isolation beds and 26 ICU beds – the highest after Dhaka city. The entire Dhaka division has 697 isolation beds.
Sylhet division has 346 isolation beds and two ICU beds whereas Khulna has 690 isolation beds and five ICU beds.
Although Rajshahi, Chattogram, Barishal and Rangpur division have 1,200, 848, 545 and 787 isolation beds respectively, they have no ICU bed for treating coronavirus patients.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), some 80 percent of people with Covid-19 recover without needing hospital treatment. However, one out of six people become seriously ill and can develop breathing difficulties, and they need to be put on ventilators.
Experts say elderly people infected with coronavirus need ICU support the most. The number of older persons in the country is over 80 lakh.
Prof Muzaherul Huq, former adviser to World Health Organisation's Southeast Asia region, told The Business Standard, elderly people with multiple comorbid conditions such as diabetics and hypertension are very vulnerable to coronavirus infection.
The number of ICU beds are inadequate compared to the country's population and senior citizens.
"We have to make a projection on predictability considering the type of patients and deaths. And based on it, we have to keep ICU beds ready without any delay."
Dr Jahidur Rahman, assistant professor at the virology department of Shaheed Suhrawardy Hospital, said the number of patients is small at present. So, not all of them need ICU facilities. But when the number of patients surges within a few days, many will need intensive care beds."
During a briefing on Tuesday, Prof Abul Kalam Azad, director general at Directorate General of Health Services, said they are in a process to install ICU beds in Rajshahi division. Gradually, they will set up ICU beds at district and divisional levels.
Highest number of single-day coronavirus tests
In the last 24 hours, 41 people tested positive for Covid-19 after testing on 792 samples collected from across the country.
This is the highest number of tests performed in a single day. The total number of samples collected so far stands at 4,402 with a total of 164 positive cases.
20 new positive cases in Dhaka, 15 in Narayanganj
"Among the 41 newly infected patients, 20 are from Dhaka and 15 from Narayanganj and one each from Cumilla, Keraniganj and Chattogram," said Dr Meerjady Sabrina Flora, director of the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), during an online press briefing on Tuesday.
She, however, did not mention the places of the remaining three.
Among the five fatalities, four are female. Two were above 60 years old, two were aged between 51 and 60, and another was between 41 and 50 years old, Dr Meerjady added.
Two of the deceased are from Dhaka and the rest are from other districts, she said.
Among the new infections, 28 are male. One of them is under 10 years old while four are between 11 and 20 years old, 10 are between 21 and 30, five are between 31 and 40, nine are between 41 and 50, seven are aged between 5o and 60 and five are above 60 years old.