To reduce COVID deaths, Delhi to increase ICU beds with hopes pinned on plasma therapy
The AAP government is now using a three-pronged approach: increase ICU beds, plasma therapy and provide oxygen cylinders to those in home isolation. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, on Friday, said: “In order to save lives, possibly we will have to increase the number of ICU beds.” Asiaville had reported, on June 24, that since Unlock One, COVID deaths in Delhi have increased by nearly 400 per cent.
Since Unlock One, Delhi has witnessed an unprecedented surge in COVID cases. In barely 25 days, the national capital has recorded over 50,000 new COVID cases. The increase in the death toll during this period is another major concern for the Aam Aadmi Party administration.
However, on Friday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal argued that the spike in the COVID-19 cases in the past couple of weeks is due to an increase in the testing rate.
“When we were conducting roughly 5,000 to 6,000 tests on a daily basis, 2000-2500 used to test positive (for COVID-19). In the past few days, we increased the testing rate by 3 times, that is, roughly between 18,000 to 20,000 tests. So it is obvious when we are testing on a larger scale, the number of cases will also increase,” Kejriwal said, on June 26, addressing the digital briefing. He further added that despite three times increase in the testing rate, Delhi is now recording 3,000-3,500 fresh cases on a daily basis.
Meanwhile, the Delhi CM said that despite the surge in cases, Delhi is witnessing the fast recovery of COVID patients. He said of 74,000 cases reported in Delhi 45,000 patients have already recovered.
Delhi has lost 2,400 lives so far.
“In order to save lives, possibly we will have to increase the number of ICU beds,” Delhi CM Kejriwal said, emphasising that now the strategy would focus on reducing the number of deaths.
He said that ICU beds in three Delhi government hospitals – GTB Hospital, Rajiv Gandhi Hospital and LNJP - will be ramped up in the coming days.
In order to reduce COVID deaths, the Delhi government is now relying on plasma therapy treatment. Delhi has got permission to conduct plasma therapy on 200 COVID patients.
“It is difficult to save serious patients and those who have encountered multi-organ failure,” Delhi Chief Minister said while sharing that plasma therapy might not succeed in such cases.
“The plasma therapy gives us hope that possibly we will be able to reduce the (COVID) deaths. The results of LNJP hospital show that plasma therapy can reduce the COVID deaths,” Kejriwal said.
He added that those with mild COVID symptoms can be saved through this treatment. Right now, two Delhi government hospitals and a couple of private hospitals have got the ICMR permission to conduct plasma therapy on patients.
Most of Delhi’s infected patients are in home isolation. The Delhi government, in order to reduce the risk for those in home isolation, has distributed oximeters to these patients. Delhi CM Kejriwal said that COVID patients tend to develop low oxygen level problems.
“If you have low oxygen levels below 94, contact us. We will provide oxygen (cylinders)at your home and if required will get you admitted in the hospital,” Kejriwal said to those in home isolation or asymptomatic patients.
In the last three weeks, Delhi has witnessed a nearly 400 per cent surge in COVID deaths. The Kejriwal administration is now trying to reduce the increase in the death toll. After Maharashtra, Delhi has recorded the second-highest COVID deaths in the country.