The recent rise in coronavirus infection rate has left the ICU beds occupied at the Covid-19 dedicated hospitals in Dhaka.
Analysing the Department of Health data, it came to be known that there are only 91 vacant Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds for corona patients in different hospitals of the capital while the number of such empty beds was 124 even two weeks ago.
According to the data on 21 November, there are no vacancies at ICU units in Kuwait-Bangladesh Friendship Hospital, Kurmitola General Hospital and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University.
Kuwait-Bangladesh Friendship Hospital has 16 ICU beds – all occupied, while Kurmitola General Hospital and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University have 16 and 10 ICU beds respectively occupied by patients.
On the other hand, there are patients in all the 12 and 6 ICU beds of the private Bangladesh Specialised Hospital and IBN SINA Hospital respectively.
Dr Shoman Aniruddha, an anesthesiologist, ICU of Mugda General Hospital told The Business Standard that in the last few months, the number of patients in the general ward had been low, but the ICU bed at Magda Hospital had never been empty, but now the number of patients waiting for ICU beds has increased a lot.
The physician said patients are now coming to hospital in much more critical condition at the very last stage due to their reluctance to get tested early.
Under the circumstances, they have no choice but to be taken to ICU, he said, adding that now not only the elderly but also people of all ages are being admitted to ICU.
According to the Department of Health, there are currently 218 patients in ICU beds out of 309 for Covid-19 patients in Dhaka metropolis.
There are 39 ICU beds in 10 Covid-19 dedicated hospitals in Chattogram. Of these, 16 beds are occupied while 23 are vacant.
Apart from Dhaka and Chattogram, there are 211 ICUs in other hospitals across the country where 70 people are admitted and 141 remain vacant.
Dr Asadul Mazid Nomaan, an anesthesiologist, Covid-19 ICU of Dhaka Medical College Hospital told The Business Standard when the infection rate dropped slightly, 4-5 ICU beds used to be left empty, but now the patient's pressure on the ICUs is much higher.
There are different types of patients with co-morbidity including diabetes and asthma getting admitted to ICU, he added.
More patients are coming to ICU of Dhaka Medical College from outside the capital, especially from Gazipur, Mymensingh and Savar.
"Seeing the patient pressure on the ICU, it looks like we are heading towards the second wave," said the doctor.
Prof Nazrul Islam, noted virologist and former vice- chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, told TBS looking at the rate of infection, it seems that a mild second wave is about to start in the country soon.
Young people who are not wearing masks are infected and remain asymptotic, but they transmit the virus to old and sick family members, he added. In such a situation, the demand for ICU beds will increase and the hospital needs to be provided with more ICU beds, oxygen, high-flow nasal cannula along with preventive measures to control the infection, he suggested.
Dr Habibur Rahman, spokesperson, DGHS, however, claims that still there are some vacant general and ICU beds in the hospitals.
"If the patient's pressure increases further, necessary steps will be taken to deal with the situation."