Increase in critically ill patients sparks fears of possible ventilator shortage

A medical staff taking swab sample from a person for testing.

Thiruvananthapuram: The number of critically ill COVID-19 patients is increasing daily in Kerala, sparking fears of a shortage of ventilators in the coming days.

According to the Department of Health, as many as 1,249 COVID-19 patients are currently on ventilator support, while 2,528 others are under intensive care.

Government estimates put the number of intensive care unit beds in the State at 2,857, and ventilators at 2,293. Kerala has been seeing an exponential increase in the number of patients needing ventilator support over the past five days.

The shortage of beds with oxygen supply and ICUs have hampered providing advanced medical care to several patients, which has been aggravating their health conditions. Additionally, non-COVID-19 patients in grievous conditions, too, are facing a crisis due to exiguous critical-care facilities.

Though COVID-related fatalities are on a rise, the exact figures are not reflected in the daily official bulletin due to the state-level health department committee’s delay in recording them. On Sunday, the State reported 68 fatalities, which included deaths from April 30.

Deaths reported post-COVID treatment are still not included in the list of pandemic fatalities.

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