Intensive care units at hospitals in Delhi are fast filling up as coronavirus cases continue to rise rapidly amid worsening air quality in winter, according to an analysis of data in the Delhi government's coronavirus tracking app.
Occupancy in intensive care units or ICUs is over 80 per cent and at least 50 per cent of regular beds reserved for COVID-19 patients is occupied, data shows.
The national capital reported 5,023 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, the highest in any state in that period of time.
Several big private hospitals have reported they have no ICU beds with ventilators left. Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain had asked 14 private hospitals to reserve 50 per cent of their beds for coronavirus patients, leading to addition of 685 more beds.
Some government hospitals have said they are left with either a few beds or none as COVID-19 patients continue to stream in. Doctors have raised concerns that they need to clear treated patients fast in order to accommodate incoming ones and avoid crowding or a long backlog.
While overall more than 80 per cent ICU beds are occupied, among ICU beds with ventilators, 83 per cent are occupied. Among ICU beds without ventilators, 82 per cent are occupied.
Top private hospitals like Max, Fortis, and Apollo don't have any vacant ICU bed with ventilator left.
Among government ones, Safdarjung Hospital's 54 ICU beds with ventilators are occupied. In AIIMS, only four of its 50 ICU beds with ventilators are vacant. In LNJP, only eight out of 200 are vacant.
The Supreme Court today asked the Delhi High Court to hear the Aam Aadmi Party government's plea for lifting a stay on reserving 80 per cent ICU beds in private hospitals and nursing homes for COVID-19 patients.
The Delhi High Court had adjourned the hearing to November 27. The Supreme Court today said the high court should considering hearing the matter in November 12.
"On your request only the high court had adjourned the case to November 27," a two-judge bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and BR Gavai told the Delhi government lawyer in video-conferencing. "Why did you not make an appeal to advance the hearing? You could have said there was urgency and asked for early hearing," the Supreme Court said.
The Delhi government lawyer said coronavirus cases in the national capital have crossed 7,000 a day and so it needs an early hearing on the matter to reserve 80 per cent ICU beds in private hospitals.
Coronavirus spread amid winter is a major concern in Delhi as poor air quality can have a big impact on health. The COVID-19 virus often impairs the functioning of the lungs. Experts widely believe that poor air quality puts those with co-morbidities at a higher risk. The virus is known to affect the respiratory system.