Hospitals getting COVID-19 patients in increasing numbers, most patients do not need oxygen support

Published On: January 14, 2022 04:24 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Jan 14: Unlike during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the patients suffering from COVID-19 infection in recent times do not need oxygen support, physicians said.

Doctors said that although the number of infected people coming to the hospitals has increased, the cases are not severe.

Dr Manisha Rawal, director of the Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, shared that many of the patients suffering from COVID-19 infection do not need oxygen support.

“Maximum patients receiving treatment at the hospital at present do not need oxygen support. Sixty percent of the patients do not need oxygen support," she said.

The hospital has kept the oxygen plant and the liquefied oxygen plant in ready state although the patients nowadays are not being kept on oxygen support.

Dr Rawal said out of the 12 patients admitted to the hospital, three are being treated in the intensive care unit (ICU) with oxygen support. Nine patients are being treated in the high dependency unit (HDU). According to her, most patients complain of irritation in the throat, runny nose, body pain, increased body heat and flu-like symptoms.

The Omicron variant creates complications in the respiratory system, infecting the upper respiratory tract. 

Earlier, the Delta variant used to affect the lower respiratory tract or lungs. Out of 15 patients visiting Teku Hospital on Thursday, 10 were infected with COVID-19. There are 100 beds along with 24 ICU beds at Teku Hospital.

Hospital Director Dr Rawal said that the next two weeks are very challenging as the number of COVID-19 infected is increasing. "What shape will the Omicron variant take? On this basis, the next two weeks are seen as very challenging," she shared.

Similarly, the number of COVID-19 infected people is increasing at the Balambu-based APF Hospital. Fifty-five COVID-19 infected are now receiving treatment at the hospital. 

Dr Pravin Nepal of the hospital stated that most of the patients admitted to the hospital do not need oxygen as compared to the people infected with the virus during the second wave of the pandemic. "Only 15 percent COVID-19 patients admitted to the hospital are receiving treatment with the oxygen support," he added.

A total of 14 COVID-19 patients were admitted to the COVID-19 Unified Central Hospital (Bir Hospital) in the last 24 hours. Hospital Chief Dr Bhupendra Basnet shared that the number of people visiting the hospital is increasing with the rise in COVID-19 infection cases. Fifty-two COVID patients are receiving treatment at the hospital. Of them, nine are in the ICU.

The government decided to operate the country’s oldest Bir Hospital as the COVID-19 Unified Central Hospital last year. A majority of COVID-19 inpatients so far do not need oxygen, according to him.

The hospital owns a plant producing 250 cylinders of oxygen on a daily basis and a 20-ton liquid oxygen plant. The 500-bed facility has 100 ICU beds.    

Though the Omicron variant seems to be less fatal than the previous variants, the effect may be qualitative due to its high transmissibility character. It can infect the vaccinated as well. Bearing in mind the possible risk from this variant, the hospital has reconditioned the oxygen support system, ICU facility, HDU facility, ventilators and isolation wards. The medical workforce has been placed on standby to handle any untoward situation. 

According to joint spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Population, Dr Samir Kumar Adhikari, presently 2,797 ICU, 1,008 ventilators and 3,846 HDU are available across the country. Likewise, the number of medical oxygen cylinders is 13,939 followed by 693 oxygen concentrators while 19 out of 25 oxygen tankers and 87 of 107 oxygen plants are in operation. 

There are 2,494 isolation beds, 324 HDU, 445 ICU and 254 ventilator-supported beds in the Kathmandu Valley. So far, 27 cases of the Omicron variant have been confirmed in the country.

(RSS/ Sharad Sharma)

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