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Alert over Covid symptoms, patients turning critical in Kolkata hospitals

West Bengal’s daily Covid cases crossed 1,000 on Wednesday after nearly three months, said health officials

Sanjay Mandal | Published 30.06.22, 06:16 AM
Pedestrians, commuters and shoppers without masks in the city on Wednesday.

Pedestrians, commuters and shoppers without masks in the city on Wednesday.

Pictures by Sanat Kr Sinha

Some Covid patients admitted in private hospitals are having moderate to severe symptoms despite not having comorbidities and are being shifted to critical care units with pneumonia, said doctors and hospital officials.

West Bengal’s daily Covid cases crossed 1,000 on Wednesday after nearly three months, said officials of the state health department.

On Wednesday, the state recorded 1,424 new Covid cases and two deaths. The majority of the cases are being reported from Kolkata and North 24-Parganas, said a health department official.

The number of people admitted in hospitals has also gone up sharply over the past week, according to the health department data.

On Wednesday, 260 Covid patients were being treated in hospitals across the state. The number was 72 on June 22. That day, 295 new Covid cases were reported from West Bengal.

Public health experts said that with the number of infections growing fast, the number of people needing hospitals admission, too, would go up.

“The number of unwell people with moderate to severe infections will go up as the number of Covid patients increases. The only way to protect ourselves is wearing masks, maintaining Covid-appropriate behaviour and taking vaccines,” said Abhijit Chowdhury, public health expert.

Despite the growing numbers, many Kolkatans are still not wearing masks in public places.

Health officials said they were receiving reports that most of those who are testing positive are having mild symptoms. But some doctors and hospital officials said there were a few patients whose condition was turning critical primarily because of Covid.

Of the 24 Covid patients admitted at Peerless Hospital on Wednesday, five were in the ICU. “Two of the patients are on ventilation support,” said Sudipta Mitra, chief executive of Peerless.

Chandramouli Bhattacharya, infectious disease expert at Peerless Hospital, said he was getting patients who were having moderate to severe symptoms primarily because of Covid.

“Many Covid patients are in ICUs or on ventilation support because of comorbidities. In their cases, Covid is an incidental finding. But, the two Covid patients who are on ventilation support at our hospital have turned critical because of the infection and not because of other diseases or comorbidities,” said Bhattacharya.

“In the general wards too, there are patients who are suffering from Covid pneumonia and have moderate infections,” he said.

According to Bhattacharya, compared with the third wave in January, which was mainly driven by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, a higher percentage of patients are being admitted this time with moderate to severe symptoms.

Of the 11 Covid patients at Belle Vue Clinic on Wednesday, four were in the ICU. “All four patients have severe symptoms only because of Covid. It is the primary cause of their being unwell,” said Pradip Tondon, CEO of Belle Vue.

However, some of the hospitals said they were still having patients with mild symptoms and those in the ICUs are suffering from other diseases.

At the RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences, most patients were having mild symptoms.

“We have 12 Covid patients  today, of whom four are in the ICU. But these four are suffering from renal failure and Covid is an incidental finding,” said R. Venkatesh, regional director, east and south, Narayana Health, which runs the RN Tagore hospital.

“The average length of stay for a Covid patient is three to four days now. Most are getting admitted because of lack of isolation facilities at home or there are elderly people in the family,” said Venkatesh.

Of the 26 Covid patients admitted at the three units of AMRI Hospitals — Dhakuria, Mukundapur and Salt Lake — seven are in ICUs.

At the Mukundapur unit, all three patients in the ICU are suffering from comorbidities. “At this moment, we don’t have patients who have turned critical because of Covid. But it does not mean that there will not be people who become very ill only because of Covid. We must not drop guard,” said Amitabha Saha, head of critical care at AMRI, Mukundapur.

Last updated on 30.06.22, 06:16 AM
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