Hospitals in bordering districts are finding it difficult to accommodate Covid-19 patients amid a worrying surge in infections with each passing day.
On Tuesday, the number of Covid patients admitted to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital was 277, which has the capacity to house 264. So, 13 patients were made to lie on the floor to receive treatment. And, there was room in the intensive care unit too.
Chapainawabganj hospital, Khulna Medical College Hospital, Satkhira Medical College Hospital and other hospitals in border districts are struggling to handle a rising number of patients.
Deputy Director of Rajshahi Medical College Hospital Dr Saiful Ferdous told The Business Standard, "Earlier, our hospital had 135 general beds for Covid patients. Another ward was opened on Tuesday to tackle a surge in patients. Now, the number of beds in the Covid-19 unit stands at 264."
"Besides, we have increased the number of ICU beds to 18 from 10. We are planning to further increase the number of beds. But, the way the number of patients is increasing every day, it is becoming difficult to handle the situation," he added.
Rajshahi medical admitted 35 new patients in the last 24 hours. The day before, the number was 33.
The authorities are now emphasising ramping up antigen tests to stem infections in Rajshahi. There is a plan to test 1,000 antigens a day, sources said.
Civil Surgeon of Rajshahi Dr Quiume Talukder told TBS the positive cases detected in antigen tests are being quarantined. Besides, beds will be increased in the Rajshahi Medical College Hospital and other institutions to cope with the pressure of patients in the hospital.
As part of motivating local people to go for antigen tests, such tests are being performed on buyers of TCB products in Rajshahi.
There is now no empty bed in the 50-bed Covid-19 unit of Chapainawabganj hospital.
Dr Suhas Ranjan Haldar, resident medical officer of Khulna Medical College Hospital and focal person of the Covid unit, told TBS that at present, there are 130 patients admitted to the hospital's Covid unit against 100 beds. There is no room in the 20-bed ICU unit.
According to the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), districts with an infection rate of 10% and above are considered as "high risk" zones, while those with 5-9% rate are labelled as "medium risk" zones. According to the IEDCR, a region with an infection rate below 5% is a "low risk" zone.
With more than 36% positivity, Khulna division topped the infection rate on Wednesday though Chapainawabganj and Rajshahi had been the top infected areas for the last couple of days.
In Satkhira, the coronavirus positivity rate was near 60% in the last 24 hours. Although the lockdown has been going on in the district since Saturday, the situation is not improving. In 24 hours, 182 samples were tested and 108 people were infected.
With an increasing positivity rate that was more than 32% on Wednesday, the Rangpur division also showed signs of a massive outbreak of the virus. Infections are also on the rise in north-western Natore, Joypurhat and Bogura.
In the meantime, the lockdown in Naogaon municipality and Niamatpur upazila has been relaxed because of some improvement in the pandemic situation. Instead, the Naogaon district administration has imposed 15-point restrictions across the district.
Shops, shopping malls and markets can be kept open from 8 am to 6 pm in compliance with hygiene rules. But, tea stalls will remain closed.
All tourist centres, resorts, community centres and recreation centres in the district will remain closed. All kinds of social, political and religious events and wedding ceremonies will remain suspended.
Highest daily cases in 42 days
Bangladesh continues to see the upward trend of Covid-19 infections as 2,537 people contracted the dreaded virus in the last 24 hours. Which is the highest in the last 42 days.
Earlier, on 28 April, Bangladesh reported 2,955 cases.
Meanwhile, single-day deaths saw a slight drop as 36 succumbed to the disease till 8 am on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, the country recorded 44 single-day deaths and 2,322 cases with a positivity rate of 12.12%.
With today's figures, the total death toll increased to 12,949 and the case tally reached 8,17,819, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
Also, the positivity rate rose to 12.33% while the death rate remained unchanged at 1.58% during this same period.
Relaxing restrictions will worsen situation: DGHS
The health directorate on Wednesday warned that the present Covid-19 situation could worsen if the country's border districts show laxity in enforcing restrictions.
"Infections have been increasing since 4 June. The positivity rate is more than 12%. Relaxation of restrictions in any place will not bring good results for us," said DGHS spokesperson Prof Nazmul Islam at the virtual bulletin.
"Infections are on the rise in these areas…these places have become stable due to restrictions. If this continues, we can get rid of the upward growth in cases," he added.