An additional burden has been placed on hospitals due to the sharp increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases across the country, including Punjab where the number of coronavirus cases is way past 38,000 and is likely to cross the 40,000 mark by tomorrow (Tuesday).
But while Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid says the “situation is still not alarming” and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Zafar Mirza says authorities have “ample resources to deal with coronavirus patients so far”, here’s what the situation in the country’s most populous province looks like:
|No. of Hospitals||No. of Beds||No. of HDUs (High Dependency Units)||No. of Ventilators|
The Punjab government has allocated 249 hospitals for COVID-19 patients with 9,644 beds, of which 53 hospitals (21.2%) are private. According to data provided to The Current by Punjab Health Department, 7,346 beds are vacant so far across the province as most people are choosing to quarantine themselves at home amid reports of the dreadful conditions at government facilities.
While the availability of beds is not yet an issue, other necessities do not seem up to the mark.
As per estimated stats, almost 2,272 (7.3%) patients in the province are admitted to different hospitals. Of the total 2,272, at least 497 (21.8%) patients are in Intensive Care Units (ICUs) or HDUs, which means they are in a critical condition.
Almost 1,500 beds were allocated by the government for ICUs and HDUs, of which 473 (30%) are at private hospitals, or so the authorities claim.
When contacted by The Current, Lahore’s Shalamar Hospital, which according to official claims is supposed to be treating at least five coronavirus patients, refused to share any details pertaining to treatment or costs, saying no infected persons were being treated by the hospital. The response received from Sargodha’s Central Hospital was not that different either, even though the government claims to have mandated it to treat at least three patients.
By the time this report was filed, 21% of patients admitted to hospitals were reported to be critically ill. If a mere 5% of patients visiting hospitals need HDUs or ventilators, within the next two weeks, the healthcare system of the country’s most populous province could collapse, suggests the current number of life-saving facilities available in Punjab.