Hospitals in Valley are overwhelmed with patients yet again: Does it signal the beginning of third wave?

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Ashim Neupane

  • Read Time 2 min.

Kathmandu: One and a half months after the prohibitory order was relaxed, hospitals in Kathmandu Valley have seen a significant rise in the number of Covid-19 patients admitted over the last week.

Although the data maintained by the Ministry of Health and Population shows there is no significant rise in the cases in the Valley, hospitals in the capital have reported that beds allocated for Covid-19 patients are running out. Experts say fewer cases are being reported due to a decline in tests.

On Tuesday, Nepal Live Today talked to a few government hospitals in the Kathmandu Valley about the Covid-19 situation. They reported that there is a significant rise in the number of new admissions, and the situation might get worse if the flow of patients continues rising at the same rate.

In Patan Hospital, the average admission rate has increased by more than three folds lately. “At the end of the lockdown, around 10 Covid-19 patients used to be admitted every day. However, in the last week, the number has increased by threefold, and the admission rate has already hit almost 35. The number is increasing every day,” said Dr Rabi Shakya, Director of Patan Hospital.

“If the flow of patients continues to increase at the current rate, there will be no beds available for new patients in the next few days,” he warned. The Lagankhel-based hospital has 300 beds dedicated for Covid-19 patients, of which 250 beds are already occupied.

Experts say that the number of cases in hospitals have suddenly increased after the government relaxed prohibitory in all sectors at once. “Although the risk of infection being still high, people are flouting health protocols,” said virologist Dr Sher Bahadur Pun.

In the Teku-based Shukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital–the only infectious disease hospital in the capital–the number of patients has increased at an alarming rate. “The ICU and HDU wards are almost full,” said a doctor at the hospital, adding out of 40 ICU beds, 34 are already occupied. “There will be no bed available for new patients in the next few days.”

Experts also said that the unmanaged vaccination drive caused an increase in cases. “When I talked to a few Covid-19 patients, I found they might have got infected while waiting in line for getting vaccinated,” said Pun.

On Monday, the Covid-19 positivity rate stood at 21 percent. Of the 10,613 PCR tests conducted throughout the country, a total of 2,279 people tested positive for the virus. That figure increased to 3,383 on Tuesday.

“The positivity rate is still high. However, people are still not following proper health safety protocols,” said Pun.

In the Balambu-based Armed Police Hospital too, the flow of Covid-19 patients has increased significantly in the last 10 days. “The flow of patients has increased over the last one week. The rate of new admission is almost double the discharge rate,” said Dr Prabin Nepal of the hospital.

Balananda Sharma, coordinator of Covid-19 Crisis Management Center (CCMC), also agrees that Kathmandu Valley is in a high-risk zone. “The cases are increasing but people are not following the safety measures adopted by the government. If people don’t follow the safety measures security officials alone cannot implement all the protocols,” he said.

The CCMC has put forward a ‘smart lockdown’ proposal to categories Covid-19 affected areas into four different groups to tackle the pandemic. “We will categories the affected region to impose a lockdown. But the people have to follow the lockdown rules strictly. That is the major challenge,” he said.