Health authorities have started reserving more beds, wards and human resources at two major tertiary-care hospitals in Karachi to deal with the growing number of Covid-19 cases, as the positivity rate due to the highly transmissible Delta variant, which accounts for 92 per cent of the infection cases in the city, has jumped to 23.32 per cent.
“A surgical ward comprising 48 beds is being converted into a Covid-19 ward at the Civil Hospital Karachi [CHK], while the pulmonology ward at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre has also been put on standby to deal with the rising cases due to the Delta variant, which is now spreading like wildfire in the city,” a Sindh Health Department official told The News on Sunday.
The official said that all the elective surgeries have been cancelled at the CHK to prevent the health care staff from contracting the viral infection, while other elective surgeries and procedures at other medical facilities have also been halted, except for emergencies, adding that Karachi is heading towards “a serious medial crisis”.
Claiming that hospitalisation has increased four times from 390 patients in April to around 1,000 in mid-July, the official said that some Covid-19 treatment facilities, including the Infectious Diseases Hospital at Nipa and the Expo Centre, are already overwhelmed with patients, while other tertiary-care health facilities are also under tremendous pressure.
He claimed that to contain the spread of the coronavirus in Karachi, some strict measures can be decided by the provincial government during the next meeting of the Provincial Taskforce on Covid-19, which is scheduled to meet on Monday (today), adding that without putting strong non-pharmaceutical interventions in place, Covid’s spread cannot be controlled.
On the other hand, virologists claim that the Delta variant of the coronavirus now accounts for 92 per cent of the Covid-19 cases in Karachi and is the leading cause of the increasing number of positivity and hospitalisation in the city. “Our experts at the National Institute of Virology at the University of Karachi analysed 90 Covid samples on July 14 and 15, and of them, 83 or over 92 per cent, were of the Delta variant. This is an extremely alarming situation,” said Dr Iqbal Chaudhry, director of KU’s International Centre for Chemical & Biological Sciences.
He said that since the Delta variant is highly transmissible and infects a large number of people, more people will require hospitalisation, and the pressure on health care facilities will increase further.