A hospital in Pune's Pimpri has run out of beds and been forced to provide oxygen support - to patients complaining of breathlessness - in a makeshift triage, or waiting area, where they are treated while the authorities try and find room inside. Seven oxygen beds have been set up in that space.
The Yashwantrao Chavan Memorial Hospital has a total of 400 beds, including 55 in the ICU (intensive care unit). As of Tuesday, not a single bed is free. Ventilators - to help Covid patients unable to breathe on their own - are in short supply, with only 79 available across Pune.
"There is constant demand from patients in PCMC (Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation) limits and outside. Patients who feel breathless are immediately put on oxygen support in the triage... until we can find them a bed," Dr Kaustubh Kahane, an Assistant Professor at YCM Hospital, said.
"When a new patient arrives, we have to take a call on admitting them - this depends on the severity of illness. If a patient needs oxygen support and no bed is available, then we ensure the patient does not suffer... We immediately ensure oxygen support," he said.
पुणे में भयावह हुए हालात!— Puja Bharadwaj (@Pbndtv) April 6, 2021
बेड फ़ुल, वेटिंग एरिया में ही लगया ऑक्सिजन बेड.
पिंपरी में YCM अस्पताल का नज़ारा,मरीज़ों की जान बचाने की कोशिश.
ज़्यादातर कोविड मरीज़ साँस की दिक़्क़त के बाद ही पहुँच रहे हैं अस्पताल.
ऑक्सिजन-ICU बेड की भारी कमी के बीच कैसे होगा नयी-बड़ी लहर से सामना? pic.twitter.com/xsFMl5RJgM
On Monday Pune district reported 8,075 new Covid cases, taking the total number of cases reported during the course of the pandemic past the 5.8 lakh-mark. The Pimpri Chinchwad township alone reported 2,152 new cases, to take its overall count past 1.53 lakh.
Pune district has been identified by the centre as one of the worst-affected by the fresh wave of coronavirus infections. On Friday Pune authorities ordered a 6 pm to 6 am curfew, and directed that shopping malls, religious places, hotels and bars, and cinema theatres shut down for a week.
Only home deliveries of food, medicines and other essential services are allowed during that time.
Public bus services have also been shut down.
The situation isn't much better in other cities in Maharashtra, with beds (at both private and government hospitals) filling up rapidly and oxygen cylinders at a premium in Nashik and Nagpur, from where shocking scenes emerged last week - of two Covid patients forced to share a bed.
In state capital Mumbai - where over 11,000 new Covid cases were reported in 24 hours on Sunday - an estimated 93 per cent of ventilators and 92 per cent of ICU beds are in use.
The centre has rushed medical teams - consisting of public health specialists and clinicians to Maharashtra. On Sunday the state announced a number of new restrictions, including a night curfew and a "strict lockdown" over the weekends, as well as the closing of malls, hotels and bars.
With input from PTI