The total number of ICU beds in government and private hospitals of Chattogram city is about 110, but an enquiry on Thursday revealed that none of the beds were empty.
The ICU crisis is increasing with the recent surge of the Covid-19 virus.
All 30 ICU units of the city's two main government hospitals, Chattogram Medical College Hospital and Chattogram General Hospital, and the Holy Crescent Hospital which specialises in the treatment of Covid-19 patients, are occupied.
Also, there are some 80 ICU beds in various private hospitals including Parkview, Metropolitan, CSCR, Delta Health, Maternal and Child Hospital, Max Hospital, National Hospital and Medical Centre – all of which are occupied at the moment.
Chattogram General Hospital Senior Consultant, Dr Abdur Rauf, and Associate Professor of the Anaesthesia Department at Chattogram Medical College Hospital, Dr Harunur Rashid, told The Business Standard that the two government hospitals have a total of 16 ICUs and four HDUs – all of which are currently occupied.
It is the same in private hospitals of the city. Chattogram Private Hospital Diagnostic Owners' Association's General Secretary, Liaquat Ali, said there are around 80 private ICUs in Chattogram, but as of Thursday all the ICU units were full.
Private Parkview Hospital's Managing Director, Dr Rezaul Karim, told The Business Standard that the hospital has a total of nine ICUs and nine HDUs.
"Relatives of around 10-15 more patients are still waiting for ICU beds. All of them have been admitted since mid-March. Patients are also admitted in all the 60-bed isolation wards," he added.
"Recently, Dr Sheikh Fazle Rabbi, a civil surgeon from Chattogram, was admitted to our hospital after testing positive for Covid-19," Karim added.
Swadhinata Chikitshak Parishad's (Swachip) Organising Secretary, Dr A M M Minhazur Rahman, said "A patient I know has been undergoing treatment for Covid-19 at a private hospital in Chattogram for the last few days. They could not find an ICU bed when the patient experienced sudden shortness of breath and incidents like this occurred throughout March as well."
However, Civil Surgeon Sheikh Fazle Rabbi, who is undergoing treatment for Covid-19 at Parkview Hospital told The Business Standard that ICU is not essential in the treatment of Covid-19.
"Oxygen and a high-flow nasal canola are most important and we have an adequate supply of those," he said.
However, Rabbi strongly urged everyone to maintain more caution due to the latest wave.
After the first wave of Covid-19 in Chattogram, the Chattogram City Corporation, political leaders, social workers, and medical leaders at the private level established seven isolation centres and a field hospital in Chattogram, where about 750 patients received treatment.
But these isolation centres and field hospitals were closed between September and November last year when the infection rate was declining. However, despite the latest spike in infections from March this year, no initiative has been taken to open these isolation centres.
In the last 24 hours, two more have died in Chattogram. With this, the total death toll in the district is 388 and during this time, 287 more people have been identified with the virus. Currently, the total number of people identified as infected by the virus stands at 40,283.