Covid patients have started rushing to hospitals in large numbers every day amid a surge of the Omicron variant across the country.
Around 37% of Covid-dedicated general beds in hospitals in the capital city have already been occupied on Saturday. A day ago, the Covid hospitalisation rate was 33%.
Besides, some hospitals in Dhaka have run out of their capacity to provide intensive care with their intensive care unit beds being occupied by patients on Saturday.
However, the pressure of severe patients was high during the second wave of Covid due to its delta variant, but such pressure is slightly less this time, physicians say.
Brigadier General Md Nazmul Haque, director of Dhaka Medical College Hospital, told The Business Standard, at present, 60 Covid patients are rushing to the hospital every day. Of them, patients having mild symptoms are being sent back home. Every day, 30-40 patients get admitted to the hospital.
The pressure of severe Covid patients has started rising too at the hospital, Brigadier General Md Nazmul Haque also informed.
Two weeks ago, no Covid patient died at the ICU of the hospital but now, patients die of Covid here daily. A few days ago, there was no need to use a high-flow nasal cannula, now 12 high-flow cannulas are being used for patients. That means, severe patients started rushing to the hospital and it may rise next week.
The rate of Covid infection among doctors also rose, he added.
With the surge in infections, the country also witnessed a spike in Covid deaths as 17 people died of the virus in the last 24 hours till 8am Saturday. 9,614 new infections and a 28.02% positivity rate were reported during the 24 hours.
According to the Covid-19 dynamic dashboard data, the occupancy rate of general beds dedicated for Covid patients was 64% while the ICU bed occupancy rate was 75% at Dhaka Medical College Hospital on Saturday.
24 Covid patients got admitted to Kurmitola Hospital in the last 24 hours. Since 14 January, more than 300 people with Covid symptoms rushed to the hospital every day. All 10 ICU beds have already been occupied. The police hospital in the capital city also sees a rise in Covid patients. Among the 470 Covid dedicated beds, 231 are occupied. Two weeks ago, 448 beds remained vacant at the hospital.
Dr Monwar Hasanath Khan, superintendent at Rajarbag Police Hospital, told TBS, at present, the admission rate has risen slightly, compared to the last two weeks. But ICU beds see less pressure as most police members are fully vaccinated and have booster doses.
Moreover, Covid dedicated general and ICU beds at various private hospitals --including Evercare, United, Square, Bangladesh Specialised Hospital, have also started facing the pressure of patients. On Saturday, no ICU bed was vacant at Evercare and Green Life hospitals.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque, at a press briefing on Friday, said one-third of Covid dedicated beds in hospitals in Dhaka city have already been occupied.
Outside Dhaka, hospitals in Chattogram, Sylhet, Chandpur and Lakshmipur districts also see a rise in Covid patients. There is a huge influx of Covid patients at Max Hospital and Ma O Shishu Hospital in Chattogram city. However, people are not following health guidelines to contain the omicron variant despite rises in infection.
The Chattogram district administration officials are in different spots in the city to ensure health guidelines although it started awareness on Covid restrictions last week. However, none are interested in following guidelines, despite the administration distributing masks and slapping fines.
Restaurants are also not following the rules of allowing only customers with vaccination certificates. There is the same scenario at various tourist spots, including Patenga Sea beach and Agrabad Jamburi Park. None at kitchen markets are interested in following health guidelines.
Mahmud Ullah Maruf, additional deputy commissioner (General), said 15 volunteer groups from district administration will remain active at busy points of the port city. Alongside the announcement through microphones, they will distribute masks free of cost.
Bangladesh has so far registered 28,209 deaths and 1,674,230 infections since the outbreak in March 2020.