- Rajshahi tops in positivity rate, Dhaka becomes the lowest
- Infections in Khulna, Jashore, Bagerhat and Chuadanga spike
- Already overwhelmed Rajshahi hospital only admitting critical patients
- Oxygen crunch and manpower shortage turn serious at the hospital
- Banning all gatherings, govt extents nationwide movement curbs till 16 June
Only critical Covid cases get hospital admission, doctor and nurse shortage keeps intensifying, the central oxygen supply struggles to cover all patients and rampant power outages disrupt treatments; this are the few catastrophes the Rajshahi Medical College hospital is facing now as the India bordering district woke up quite unprepared to tackle the Delta variant.
"We will collapse if the situation continues, and Covid-19 patients keep flooding the hospital," Rajshahi Medical College Hospital (RMCH) Director Brigadier General Dr Shamim Yazdani told The Business Standard.
Like Rajshahi, Chapainawabganj, Khulna, Jashore, Bagerhat and Chuadanga medical facilities struggle to deal with the patient rush believed to be prompted by the Delta (India variant) strain as the positivity rate goes above 20% in the regions.
On Sunday, the Covid-19 positivity rate in Rajshahi was 25.18% — the highest among the divisions — while Khulna came up second with the positivity score of 21.66%.
However, the rate in Rajshahi division's Chapainawabganj district and Rajshahi town was above 40% while it was more than 30% in Khulna division's Jashore, Bagerhat and Chuadanga district. Dhaka, that had been the infection hotspot, now has the lowest 6.05% positivity rate.
In Rajshahi and Khulna divisions, only 8 lakh citizens have received two doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, and the low immunisation dampens the hope to shield the masses against the Indian variant.
The health directorate also says June may not be as comfortable as May was since the variant has already spread from bordering districts to elsewhere in Bangladesh.
"Our positivity rate has increased in the last one week. Looking back at last month, we can see that we are not at the stage to say we are stable. Our transmission rate has become unstable," health directorate Spokesperson Dr Robed Amin said in a virtual bulletin Sunday.
Rajshahi medical only taking serious patients
Sheuli Begum, 27, had been undergoing treatment at Chapainawabganj Sadar Hospital since Thursday after being tested positive with Covid-19. She was shifted to the RMCH Saturday as her breathing condition deteriorated.
After a terrifying four-hour, Sheuli's family could admit her to a general bed at the RMCH though her complications demanded the intensive care unit (ICU) support.
Already overwhelmed, the hospital said it is now only taking critical patients. Even after this, the hospital's central oxygen supply cannot cover all.
RMCH Director Brigadier General Dr Shamim Yazdani said they have arranged extra beds at general wards, and are providing patients with oxygen cylinders.
"We are facing a severe power crisis. Electricity cuts are frequent. We asked the power office for an uninterrupted supply, but to no avail," said the director.
On top of this, the hospital with 70 doctors and 190 nurses are also facing manpower shortage as the Covid treating medical personnel have to maintain a 14-day quarantine after a 14-day duty.
Health directorate team visits Chapainawabganj
Additional Director General of the health directorate Dr Meerjady Sabrina Flora Sunday visited India bordering Chapainawabganj.
Health directorate Spokesperson Dr Robed Amin in a virtual bulletin Sunday said a special medical team from Dhaka is monitoring the Covid-19 situation in Chapainawabganj.
"The number of hospital beds in all bordering areas has been increased. Chapainawabganj Sadar Hospital has been instructed only to admit critical patients," he said.
He added that the sadar hospital would be turned into a Covid-19-dedicated hospital if required.
Robed also said the hospital authorities must take steps to ensure an uninterrupted oxygen supply for patients.
"We have to think about an uninterrupted (low-flow) oxygen supply before putting patients in a high-flow nasal cannula support. Because uninterrupted oxygen is a lifesaver. Many of those who are in critical condition are recovering through a low-flow oxygen supply," he said.
'Lockdown' extended till 16 June
The countrywide movement restrictions have been extended once again till 16 June as Bangladesh recorded 38 more deaths and 1,676 new cases in the past 24 hours until Sunday morning.
The cabinet division issued a gazette notification in this regard on Sunday.
As per the notification, government offices and educational institutions will remain closed except the emergency services. All tourist spots, resorts, community and entertainment centres will also remain closed during the time.
Social, political and religious gatherings will remain banned.
The government had earlier extended the Covid-19 restrictions till 6 June midnight to prevent the transmission of the deadly virus.
In the past 24 hours until Sunday morning, Bangladesh's fatality rate stands at 1.58% while the positivity rate is at 10.73%.