Oman COVID-19 spike sparks hospital ICU bed shortage – just 4% free

Oman COVID-19 spike sparks hospital ICU bed shortage – just 4% free
A medical worker collects a swab sample from a passenger for a RT-PCR Coronavirus test at the Muscat international airport in the Omani capital on October 1, 2020. (File/AFP)

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DUBAI: A spike in coronavirus infections in Oman has led to a serious shortage in available hospital intensive care unit (ICU) beds with 96 percent occupied – leaving just 14 ICU spaces free, national daily Times of Oman reported.
With so many COVID-19 cases occupying bed spaces, staff are finding it difficult to expand intensive care units further to meet the current pandemic demands, head of Infectious Diseases Unit at the Royal Hospital Dr Faryal Al-Lawati said.
“Vacant beds in hospitals cannot be occupied by just COVID-19 patients, and if we do increase the number of beds for them, by converting existing beds to one designed for intensive care, it means we have to reduce other health services provided, in exchange for more coronavirus admissions,” she said.
The situation is so bad that some operations – essential and non-essential – have already been postponed.
And Dr Al-Lawati warned that further non-COVID-related health services might be halted if the surge doesn’t slow down.
Data analyst Ibrahim Al-Maimani said that on March 31, the number of patients in hospitals reached 515, while April 12 witnessed a 46 percent increase in admissions reaching 751 cases.
“There is also an increase in the number of intensive care admissions during the same period with a rise of 78 inpatients from 156 on March 31 to reach 234 cases by the April 12,” he added.
The total number of infections recorded in the country stands at 173,029 with 153,986 recoveries and 1,789 deaths. Oman experiences shortage in hospital beds amid spike in COVID-19 infections