With the number of Covid-19 cases increasing in Assam daily, the union health ministry has instructed Assam to complete the installation of 2,500 ICU beds and 7,500 oxygen-supported beds by the 15th of October.
The union health ministry has tasked Assam with this objective because the projections suggest that the number of Covid-19 cases in the state will likely cross two lakh by mid-October
According to relevant sources, Assam has about 404 ICU-supported beds. In addition to that, there are 1,700 fully oxygen-supported beds. Various health officials say that the government is making constant efforts to address urgent requirements.
However, they argue that the target set for the Assam government will be difficult to achieve by the stipulated time. Because of the rapid spike in cases, almost every state is experiencing a shortage of ICU beds, a health official added.
While talking to Times of India, a senior health official revealed that there are only 25,000 isolation beds in the government sector. The official explained that as per the Centre’s assessment, Assam would need a minimum of 7,500 oxygen supported beds in order to cope with future spikes. He said, going by the Centre’s assessment, the number of ICU-supported beds in the government facilities and hospitals has to be increased by about six times and that too in less than a month.
Director of medical education Assam, Dr Anup Kumar Barman said, “We have taken the government of India’s projections seriously. Oxygen vendors have been asked to be prepared to increase the production of medical oxygen. In the existing ICU units of medical colleges, initiatives have been taken to increase the number of beds. That is because most of our patients needing critical care will come to medical colleges only.”
Barman also pointed out that all medical colleges in Assam will now have an oxygen generation plant and cryogenic reservoir in order to store liquid oxygen for future use.
He said that efforts to increase the number of ICU beds were ongoing simultaneously in all seven medical colleges of the state. In addition to that, all district hospitals plan to develop additional 10-15 ICU beds.
Officials from the health department say that achieving the target set by the Centre will be extremely difficult. However, considering the urgent need for oxygen, the state government has initiated the process of providing oxygen concentrators in Covid-19 care centres.