Cases drop in Chennai, but death rate is a increasing
Even as there is a slight decline in the number of Covid-19 cases in the city now, the death rate has been on the rise. Around 30 percent — 365 people - of Chennai’s total death count - 1,253 — were reported between July 1 and 12.
Sources say close to 30 percent of the deceased patients were ‘last-minute’ admissions to hospitals, and around 45 percent did not survive over two days after admission.
Public health experts attribute the climbing death rate to the severity of the spread and the increased burden on healthcare facilities. Infectious diseases specialist at Apollo Hospitals Dr. Ram Gopalakrishnan said that the high death rate is due to the rise in the number of symptomatic and severe patients. “Another reason is the lack of facilities to treat so many patients. Even enough well-trained doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals are not available to deal with the caseload. There’s no point in having ventilators ready without staff who know how to use them,’’ he pointed out.
Dr. Gopalakrishnan also hinted at the improper treatment of patients at several smaller hospitals. “When the patient’s condition gets critical, they refer him or her to a bigger hospital,” he added.
Former Director of Public Health Dr. K Kolandasamy suggests permitting clinics and smaller hospitals to completely resume operations so that the burden on other hospitals is reduced. “The government could strictly advise all doctors to refer patients for COVID tests if their symptoms don’t recede after a few days. Allowing local clinics to take COVID tests is another way to go. Ultimately, the mortality rate depends on how much we are successful in insulating our elderly population,” Dr. Kolandasamy concluded. It is not easy to assess whether a patient is brought in early or late, Nodal Officer for Covid-19 treatment at Stanley Hospital Dr. A Ravi said. “With more COVID care centers coming up, the number of admissions to Stanley Hospital has slightly decreased. Mostly, critical cases are referred to our hospital now,” he added.
Omandurar GH Dean Dr. R Jayanthi also said that the number of admissions to their hospital has slightly reduced lately, and most of the referred patients were in critical condition.