Bangladesh recorded the highest ever single-day Covid-19 positivity rate of 32.55% in 24 hours until Saturday at 8 am. The previous highest daily positivity rate of 31.91% was reported on 3 August last year.
Health officials tested 20,827 samples during the 24-hour period and results of 6,780 of them came out positive, taking the case tally to 11,53,344 in the country.
Also, the daily fatality rate increased to 1.65% on Saturday, up from 1.64% the previous day, according to the Covid-19 bulletin issued by the Directorate General of Health Services.
Meanwhile, the single-day deaths rose to 195 in the past 24 hours. With this, the number of total deaths from the coronavirus has crossed the 19,000-mark in the country.
The health directorate yesterday reported that detection of new Covid-19 cases increased by 26.67% last week, while deaths increased by 6.96% during the same period.
Because infections and deaths from the coronavirus are increasing rapidly during the third wave of infections, pressure is mounting on the hospitals. Allegations are also there that the hospitals are failing to provide adequate ICU as well as general beds and proper services to the patients.
During a visit to the DNCC Covid-dedicated hospital at Mohakhali in the capital on Saturday morning, The Business Standard (TBS) saw one Sujan Haldar from Tongi crying while hugging his six-year-old daughter Tanushri.
Asked, Sujan told TBS that his brother-in-law Gopal Das (40) died from the coronavirus at the hospital.
He said Gopal was first taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital after he tested positive for the coronavirus, from where he was referred to the DNCC hospital.
Sujan alleged that his brother-in-law died because he was not taken to the ICU.
Like Sujan, Nilufa Begum from Khulna complained that her mother-in-law died due to a lack of adequate treatment in the hospital.
She told TBS, "We brought the patient to Dhaka as we were not getting proper treatment in Khulna. But here too, we did not get an ICU bed in the last 16 days, neither was there an oxygen supply. My mother-in-law died due to a lack of proper treatment."
It was found that most of the patients who came to the hospital were from outside Dhaka. The relatives who came with the patients said they came to the capital in the absence of adequate ICUs, oxygen, ventilations and beds in cities outside Dhaka.
Sadman Rashid Labib who brought his Covid-positive father from Barishal to Mohakhali Covid-dedicated hospital on Saturday morning complained his father was admitted to Barishal Sher-e-Bangla Medical College Hospital for five days but doctors saw him only once in those five days.
"There was no ventilation or oxygen in the hospital. Being helpless, I've brought my father to Dhaka. But even after coming here, I heard that no general bed in the hospital is vacant, let alone ICU, oxygen and ventilation."
Brigadier General Dr AKM Nasir Uddin, director of DNCC Covid-dedicated hospital, said, "All our ICU beds have been filled with patients. The pressure of patients has increased since Eid day and it is increasing every day. We could admit 75% of the patients who came to the hospital yesterday and turned away the remaining 25%."
"At present, 60% of the patients are from outside Dhaka. Now the pressure of patients from Dhaka is also increasing."
"We've already cured 2,000 patients and sent them home. We're continuing our efforts to expand various services, including toilets."
Brigadier General Nasir Uddin further said he does not see any other way but to convert an increased number of general beds into ICU beds to tackle the mounting pressure of critical patients.
According to the health directorate, only 5,894 out of 15,630 general beds dedicated for Covid patients in hospitals across the country are currently vacant, while the number of empty ICU beds is 245 out of a total number of 1,321.
Of these, 1,963 general and 137 ICU beds are vacant in Dhaka city. No ICU beds are vacant in six major hospitals of the capital including Kurmitola General Hospital, Mugda Medical College Hospital, Sheikh Russel Gastroliver Hospital, the BSMMU and Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
Asim Kumar Nath, director of Mugda Medical College Hospital, told TBS, "We don't have any ICU beds vacant at present. Yesterday, we were able to admit 33 patients out of 52 who came here to get admission."
Mentioning that the pressure of elderly patients from outside Dhaka has increased since Eid, he said most of the patients coming to Dhaka in critical conditions and 98% of them have not been vaccinated.
"Even then we are providing healthcare to the best of our capacity," he added.