As cases of Covid-19 surge in Province 5, hospitals run out of resourcesHospitals say their resources will be spread thin if more patients are admitted.
As Province 5 sees a surge in Covid-19 cases, hospitals here have begun facing a resource crunch.
The hospitals in the province designated as Covid-19 treatment centres say they lack medical equipment, medical workers and protective gear as the number of infected in the province reached 105 in the province as of Friday.
The hospitals in Butwal, Bhairahawa, Banke, and Dang, where Covid-19 patients are receiving treatment, face a host of challenges dealing with patients diagnosed with the novel disease.
Sudarshan Thapa, focal person at Butwal-based Lumbini Hospital, which is administering the Corona-specific hospitals in Rupandehi, said that resources are already spread thin and it can’t take in any more patients. “The hospital needs to recruit about 30 more health workers at the earliest,” said Thapa. As of Thursday, 36 patients are undergoing treatment at the hospital.
But it’s not only the beds that the hospital lacks, it also needs PPEs and masks, said Thapa.
In Banke, 25 people infected with the disease are currently undergoing treatment at the Sushil Koirala Prakhar Cancer Hospital. While the hospital has 50 beds, only 25 have been allocated for the Covid-19 patients. The hospital has three ventilators and six ICU beds, which are insufficient if patients fall critically ill, said Prakash Thapa, chief of Bheri Regional Hospital, said.
In Dang, 21 individuals are currently admitted at the Beljhundi-based corona-specific hospital. A total of 30 beds are ready for use as of now, the hospital says it can increase the capacity if need be, according to hospital administration.
Late on Friday, the Ministry of Health and Population confirmed three coronavirus cases in Dang. The Ministry said the patients’ condition is normal and that they are in contact with the health officials. These are the first three coronavirus positive cases in Dang.
Similarly, 19 are receiving treatment in Bhairahawa.
Meanwhile, the provincial government has said it plans to add more beds to the Butwal-based hospital. A meeting convened by Minister for Industry, Tourism and Environment Lila Giri has decided to add 200 beds at the facility.
“The government has decided to add 200 beds and 20 ICUs,” said Surya Bahadur Bhattarai, chair of Lumbini Provincial Hospital Development Committee, which monitors the corona-specific hospital in Butwal. Bhattarai, however, said that while the work has started, it’s uncertain when the additional facilities would be ready.
“Two ventilators are ready at the hospital. We are increasing other facilities as well,” said Dr Sarbesh Sharma, secretary of the Hospital Management Committee.
Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus outbreak
UPDATED as of September 22, 2020
What is Covid-19?
Covid-19, short for coronavirus disease, is an illness caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, short for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Common symptoms of the disease include fever, dry cough, fatigue, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
How contagious is Covid-19?
Covid-19 can spread easily from person to person, especially in enclosed spaces. The virus can travel through the air in respiratory droplets produced when a sick person breathes, talks, coughs or sneezes. As the virus can also survive on plastic and steel surfaces for up to 72 hours and on cardboard for up to 24 hours, any contact with such surfaces can also spread the virus. Symptoms take between two to 14 days to appear, during which time the carrier is believed to be contagious.
Where did the virus come from?
The virus was first identified in Wuhan, China in late December. The coronavirus is a large family of viruses that is responsible for everything from the common cold to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). After an initial outbreak in Wuhan that spread across Hubei province, eventually infecting over 80,000 and killing more than 3,000, new infection rates in mainland China have dropped. However, the disease has since spread across the world at an alarming rate.
What is the current status of Covid-19?
The World Health Organisation has called the ongoing outbreak a “pandemic” and urged countries across the world to take precautionary measures. Covid-19 has spread to 213 countries and territories around the world and infected more than 31,405,983 people with 967,505 deaths and 22,990,260 recoveries. In South Asia, India has reported the highest number of infections at 5,557,573 with 88,943 deaths. While Pakistan has reported 306,304 confirmed cases with 6,420 deaths. Nepal has so far reported 65,276 cases with 427 deaths.
How dangerous is the disease?
The mortality rate for Covid-19 is estimated to be 3.6 percent, but new studies have put the rate slightly higher at 5.7 percent. Although Covid-19 is not too dangerous to young healthy people, older individuals and those with immune-compromised systems are at greater risk of death. People with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease, or those who’ve recently undergone serious medical procedures, are also at risk.
How do I keep myself safe?
The WHO advises that the most important thing you can do is wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol content. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unclean hands. Clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces like your computers and phones. Avoid large crowds of people. Seek medical attention if symptoms persist for longer than a few days.
Is it time to panic?
No. The government has imposed a lockdown to limit the spread of the virus. There is no need to begin stockpiling food, cooking gas or hand sanitizers. However, it is always prudent to take sensible precautions like the ones identified above.