Demand for oxygen beds in Chennai has eased with the number of Covid cases declining in the last 10 days. However, the need for ICU beds dropped only by a fraction and continues to be high.

As per data available in public domain, with 1,171 beds with oxygen support, occupancy on May 4 was 93.9 per cent. This peaked at 99.1 per cent on May 12 and since then has declined to 87.9 per cent on Thursday.

However, ICU bed occupancy has been flat at 97-98 per cent during this period. ICU occupancy dropped little today to 97 per cent (67 available). Both oxygen bed and ICU occupancy reduction and a fall in test positive rate to 14.2 per cent bode well, said Vijayanand, a Covid Data Analyst, in a tweet on Thursday.

According to V Ashwin Karuppan, consultant in General Medicine at Gleneagles Global Health City, the demand for ventilator beds still continues to be high. That is because smaller set ups where they do not have an oxygen facility or where they are unable to manage the oxygen demands are sending patients to bigger hospitals. The average stay of an ICU patient is around 14 days and it can go up to 21 days or longer. There are many demands for ventilators and the demand continues to stay at a higher point. And we don’t see any decrease in cases now, he added.

Spoorthi Arun at Promed hospital says that frantic calls from patients in ambulances, going from one hospital to another, in search of a bed, have thankfully decreased. Requirement for oxygen beds has also decreased over the past few days. However, calls for ICU beds or sicker patients with higher CT scores have not, she added.

Superimposed bacterial or fungal infections are some of the common reasons for longer ICU stays. Patients are tolerating lower oxygen saturations for longer periods of time compared to pre-covid era, she said.