The Tamil Nadu government on Monday, sought to dismiss reports on shortage of beds in private and government hospitals in Chennai, which has been recording over 1000 cases a day, since last week. Health Minister Vijayabhaskar claimed that hospitals run by the state were equipped with enough beds and ventilators to support any number of incoming patients.
Speaking to TNM, authorities in the Health department further stated that the process is dynamic and that more beds can be introduced in private and government hospitals as and when necessary.
"As far as bed facilities are concerned, government hospitals in Chennai alone have 5000 beds in 5 hospitals, equipped with ventilators and the Corporation has 17,000 beds in their care centres. When people are already panicking, saying that government and private hospitals have no beds is wrong," the Health Minister stated.
However reports from TNM and Frontline have pointed out that the number of beds currently allocated for COVID-19 patients are not sufficient and that hospitals are struggling to meet the demand from patients. TNM further reported that the number of beds and ventilators available in private hospitals, as per the dashboard, is not accurate.
"The government has been planning well and has the forecast and necessary dynamic strategy in place. The dashboard has just started and is not fully ready yet," said Health secretary Beela Rajesh, when asked about the bed capacity in private hospitals. "Even there lots of vacant beds can be seen and more importantly these are COVID earmarked beds and not the full capacity so can be dynamically increased as per need. There is no shortage of beds," she added.
The Health Secretary further maintained that, "There are around 9645 beds in COVID-19 hospitals for moderate to severe cases, 3000 Beds in COVID Health centres for mild to moderate cases and around 10000 beds in COVID Care Centres for asymptomatic and mild cases. These are beds earmarked for COVID as against larger capacities available. As per need they will be augmented."
Director of Public Health, Selvavinayagam, stated that the department was already in talks with private hospitals to expand their capacity. More private hospitals are also being brought on board to handle COVID-19 patients.
"It has been only two days since the dashboard has started. It is a dynamic process and beds can be added as necessary," said the Director.
When TNM pointed out that two of the private hospitals did not have the staff or infrastructure in place to handle COVID-19 cases, the Director promised to look into the matter.
On Sunday alone, Tamil Nadu reported 1,515 cases in the state. The number of total cases in Chennai is over 22,000.