7 districts have no vacant bed in govt Covid hospitals: Affidavit in Gujarat HC

As per the affidavit, Gujarat had a total of 50,695 beds across 899 hospitals (67 government, 832 private), of which 42,758 were occupied.

At least seven districts did not have a single vacant bed in government hospitals dedicated for Covid-19 treatment as on April 18, according to an affidavit filed by the state government before the Gujarat High Court on Monday.

These districts include Amreli where 295 beds are provisioned in three Covid dedicated hospitals, Kheda with 782 beds across 34 hospitals, Morbi with nearly 400 beds in four hospitals, Patan with 465 beds across six hospitals, Porbandar with 40 beds in a single hospital, Surendranagar with 527 beds across 10 hospitals and Valsad with 597 beds across eight hospitals.

Amreli reported 122 new cases and one death, Kheda reported another 121 new cases and a death, Morbi added another 74 new cases and three deaths, Patan added 104 new cases and two deaths, Porbandar recorded 42 new infections, Surendranagar saw 76 new cases and four deaths and Valsad’s tally went up by 80 cases on Tuesday. Of these seven districts, Surendranagar has been the worst hit, reporting deaths everyday since April 16, recording as many as seven fatalities on April 18.

Banaskantha, Botad, Mehsana, Sabarkantha, Bhavnagar Municipal Corporation, Jamnagar and Junagadh corporations and rural areas, and Rajkot Municipal Corporation had fewer than 10 per cent vacant beds as of April 18.

As per the affidavit, Gujarat had a total of 50,695 beds across 899 hospitals (67 government, 832 private), of which 42,758 were occupied.
Another 18,564 beds have been provisioned across 297 Covid care centres in the state, 19 per cent of which are occupied and 10,685 beds have been provisioned across 394 Covid health centres, 60 per cent of which are occupied as of April 18, according to the state.

Overall, across the three kinds of Covid facilities — care centres, health centres and dedicated hospitals, Gujarat has 79,944 beds provisioned for Covid patients. The affidavit further submitted that it plans to expand to a total of one lakh beds across the state by April 30.

Although the Gujarat HC has emphatically stressed on increased RT-PCR testing, the state government in its affidavit admitted that “stringent infrastructural and technical requirements” for RT-PCR laboratory set-up, limits the administration in rapid expansion. The state submitted that “RT-PCR testing is not possible at taluka or nagarpalika level, where such expertise is not available”.

However, the state added that an addition of testing machines will be made to existing state government laboratories. “RT-PCR testing was being carried out in 43 state government laboratories through 51 testing machines. On a priority basis, 19 more machines have been added augmenting the present capacity and today 70 testing machines are operationalised in these 43 state laboratories… 40 more such RT-PCR testing machines have been ordered…”

As per a communication of April 18 by health commissioner Jai Pakash Shivhare, 26 laboratories in universities and other higher education institutions in the state were also directed to conduct RT-PCR testing. “Consumables to carry out RT-PCR tests will be supplied by GMSCL, Gandhinagar,” the communication noted. Overall, as per the data given in the affidavit, only 39 per cent of the state’s total 24.69 lakh tests conducted between April 1 and 18, were RT-PCR tests.

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