Navi Mumbai’s battle with COVID-19 appears to have come to a crucial stage. Apart from one instance in the past fortnight (September 1 to 15), the number of cases in the municipal corporation’s jurisdiction has been stable with increasing cases of recovery. However, the scarcity of ICU beds and beds with ventilators continues for many patients from nearby districts who arrive there for treatment, as there are no vacant beds.
The Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) recently crossed the 31,000 cases mark, but due to consistent efforts of NMMC officials, the testing and tracing facility has been strengthened. With approximately 2,500 tests (antigen and RT PCR) every day, in the first fortnight of September, new cases have been restricted to under 400 a day.
Dr Kailas Gaikwad of the Urban Health Centre at Turbhe said, “It’s a good sign that cases have been stable for almost a fortnight. They can dip further if residents of housing societies and complexes come forward and get themselves tested, as cases in gaothans and slums are decreasing and are on the rise in such societies and complexes. If more people get tested, it will help control the pandemic further.”
The recovery rate of patients has also gone up. On September 1, the recovery rate was 85%, which climbed to 87% on September 15. The number of active patients has also reduced. On September 1, NMMC had 3,486 active cases, which reduced in the fortnight to 3,463.
‘A good sign’
“At this moment, except for containment zones, there are no restrictions on people’s movement, but still the number of cases is stable and there is an increase in recoveries, indicating a flattening of the curve,” said a NMMC official.
But the availability of ICU and ventilator beds has drastically reduced in the last 8 to 10 days, as many patients from nearby districts have come to Navi Mumbai. NMMC has 336 ICU beds (including civic and private) out of which only nine are available. Of 121 beds with ventilators, only three beds are available.
Dr Rahul Peddawad, chief executive officer of DY Patil Hospital, Nerul, said, “There is scarcity of beds for serious patients. Though cases in NMMC are stable, cases in neighbouring civic corporations and districts are on the rise. We have admitted serious patients from Ratnagiri, Satara, Sangli and even Jalgaon. A delay in detection of infection leads to patients turning serious, we hope things get better in the near future.”
“It is disheartening to see relatives carrying patients hundreds of kilometres to a hospital. We have no choice but to admit and stabilise them,” he added. “Panvel and Raigad district don’t have big hospitals, so many patients come to city hospitals. It’s getting difficult to manage cases now,” said an administrator of a private hospital.
‘Too early to say’
“Cases in the city are steady but it’s too early to declare that the curve has flattened, we need at least 2 to 3 months data to project it. Still, we believe, residents should come for testing and mark themselves safe. The cause for concern is beds for serious patients. At this moment, 40% of our ICU and ventilator beds occupied by patients from other districts. We are now focusing on increasing ICU beds,” said Abhijeet Bangar, NMMC commissioner.
Approx. no. of cases daily for a fortnight
Infrastructure in numbers in Navi Mumbai hospitals
COVID Care Centre
(Beds for asymptomatic or mild symptoms)
. Capacity: 2,856
. Occupied: 1,288
. Available: 1,568
Dedicated COVID Health Centre
(Beds for moderate to severe symptoms)
. Capacity: 336
. Occupied: 327
. Available: 09
Beds with ventilators
. Capacity: 121
. Occupied: 118
. Available: 3
Isolation beds with oxygen
. Capacity: 2,109
. Occupied: 1,202
. Available: 907
Isolation beds without oxygen
. Capacity: 3,308
. Occupied: 1,647
. Available: 1,661
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