Coronavirus: In Maharashtra, Punjab, delayed hospitalisation leading to high number of deaths

The high-level meeting was chaired by Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan.

Coronavirus in India: In a meeting on Saturday held with 12 states and UTs, the Centre raised several key issues regarding the resurgence of coronavirus cases in India. Among the issues flagged was the high occupancy rate of COVID-19 ventilator beds in at least four districts of Maharashtra, which it said was resulting in a high number of deaths. According to a report in IE, the Centre also said that in Punjab, most of the deaths are being reported between 48 to 72 hours after the patients are admitted, which could be due to the delay in hospitalisation. Apart from this, another key issue that was raised was that the contacts of positive cases were not being isolated till the final test result, which was leading to spread of infection.

The high-level meeting was chaired by Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, and it was attended by the state health secretaries, municipal commissioners as well as the district collectors of 46 districts. These districts were the most affected as far as rising numbers of cases and mortality are concerned. The Centre also noted that 90% of the deaths related to COVID-19 were recorded among people above the age of 45 years.

A key point to be noted is the fact that Maharashtra has a total of 36 districts, of which 25 most-affected districts were accounting for nearly 60% of the cases that India has recorded over the last one week.

During the meeting, the Centre also focused on the alarming fatality rates in Punjab and Maharashtra. A detailed discussion was also held with the district magistrates of Pune, Yavatmal, Nagpur as well as Aurangabad, the report said. Pune is witnessing a 70% occupancy of COVID-19 ventilator beds currently, indicating that the patients were coming to the hospital at a later stage. A similar situation was prevalent in Nagpur, while for Aurangabad, this figure stood at 50%. Yavatmal was witnessing a 40% occupancy. This means that at least in these districts, the rapid identification of cases and prompt hospitalisation continues to be an issue.

A similar analysis was also held for Punjab in the meeting, the report added. In the northern state, patients were not reporting to hospitals in time as required by the clinical management protocol, which was why most of the deaths were occurring soon after admission of patients to hospitals.

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