Covid-19 in Maharashtra: As cases soar, hospitals face shortage of oxygen beds

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Updated: Apr 04, 2021 11:41 AM

Over the weekend all 2214 Oxygen cylinder equipped beds in the hospitals of Aurangabad were occupied forcing a large number of patients to seek home treatment. Out of more than 15k active cases in the state, about 4600 are under home isolation.

From a daily demand of about 150-200 metric tonnes of Oxygen during the end days of February, the state's current daily Oxygen demand is in the range of 700-750 metric tonnes.From a daily demand of about 150-200 metric tonnes of Oxygen during the end days of February, the state's current daily Oxygen demand is in the range of 700-750 metric tonnes.

As the cases of Coronavirus rise consistently in the state of Maharashtra, the price of oxygen cylinders has also shot up suddenly. In Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, which had the highest positivity rate of about 43 percent during the end days of March, all Oxygen beds in the district remained occupied over the weekend forcing patients to seek alternative treatment at their homes, the Indian Express reported.

Over the weekend all 2214 Oxygen cylinder equipped beds in the hospitals of Aurangabad were occupied forcing a large number of patients to seek home treatment. Out of more than 15k active cases in the state, about 4600 are under home isolation. While most of the patients who have tested positive have mild symptoms, some of them are sufficiently ill to need Oxygen support. The dire state of affairs with regard to Covid-19 spread could be gauged from the sudden jump in the OXygen demand. From a daily demand of about 150-200 metric tonnes of Oxygen during the end days of February, the state’s current daily Oxygen demand is in the range of 700-750 metric tonnes.

While the demand of Oxygen cylinders has not affected the patients already admitted in the hospitals as there is no shortage of Oxygen supply with the hospitals, the real problem that has started affecting the state is the lack of oxygenated beds in the hospitals forcing sick patients to seek treatment at their home. For ordinary patients who are under treatment at their homes, it has become extremely hard to arrange Oxygen cylinders. Taking into cognisance, the shortage of Oxygen cylinders, the state Public Health Department has already directed Oxygen manufacturers in the state to reserve 80 percent of the supplies for Coronavirus patients and only send 20 percent to the industries. Maharashtra Chief Minister in his brief statement on Saturday had also said that the government is mulling to reserve 100 percent of Oxygen output for Covid-19 patients for the next few days.

Owner of Oxygen Zainab Enterprise and supplier of Oxygen cylinders Abdul Hakim told the Indian Express that the demand for Oxygen cylinders has increased four times since March. Even for those patients who have been able to get hold of an Oxygen cylinder, the problems do not end as the refilling charges of a 7000 litre Oxygen cylinder has more than doubled from its earlier price of Rs 150 to the current price of Rs 350. The advance payment a patient has to shell out for arranging an Oxygen cylinder at her home has also increased to a whopping Rs 10000 from the earlier rate of Rs 5000.

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