CM’s critical interventions show results – deaths show steep decline

Zero deaths took place in home isolation in first week of July, total number of daily deaths has also shown a sharp decline. These are the findings of a Delhi government’s study. CM had directed Health Department to study all deaths in last fortnight to understand what steps could be taken to further reduce deaths. The Health Department presented these findings to the CM on 10 July.

During the fortnight 24 June and 8 July, a total of 691 deaths took place in Delhi, which is an average of 46 deaths per day during this period. All these deaths were studied and analyzed by the health department of Delhi government. Some of the important findings are:

  1. In the last few days, the no. of daily deaths have been reducing. From a high of 101 daily deaths in mid-June, daily deaths have come down to around 46 deaths a day during last fortnight marking a significant improvement.
  2. Delhi’s overall death rate has come down to 3.02% from 3.64% in June. However, daily average has come down to roughly 2.5% with average daily number of deaths being less than 50 and daily number of fresh cases being around 2000 in last fortnight.
  3. Out of a total of 691 deaths that happened in last fortnight, only 7 deaths happened in home isolation (between 24 June to 30 June). Not a single death has occurred in July of any patient under home isolation. This can be attributed to the Chief Minister’s decision to distribute oximeters to all patients under home isolation. The use of these oximeters alerts the patients of any dropping oxygen levels which is an early sign of deteriorating health.
  4. As per Central Government’s Paul Committee, 45% of deaths in India occur during the first 48 hours. In Delhi, this has come down to only 15%. Several steps taken by the government are responsible for this.
  5. Of the 691 deaths, 505 patients were in serious condition, when admitted to hospitals. 291 of these patients were already in a hospital when tested positive, everyone else got timely admission into the hospital. The study found delay in hospital admission in case of only 28 patients.

CM had initiated a plan to improve processes and systems at 6 crucial points of serious Corona Patients treatment cycle. This has started showing results –

  1. Increased testing – Difficulty in getting oneself tested in time led to death of some serious patients earlier. This has now been resolved with increased testing
  2. Emphasis on home isolation of asymptomatic and mild symptom patients released large number of hospital beds. Home isolation experience of patients was improved by daily tele-counselling and providing oxymeters so that people felt safe and comfortable at homes. Steps were also taken to ensure any escalation of symptoms were immediately dealt with.
  3. Faster Ambulance response time – The ambulance response time has reduced from 55 minutes to 30.5 minutes within the last month. Many more ambulances have been hired to ensure zero refusal. This has ensured timely transportation of patients to hospitals.
  4. Quick Admission Process – This was identified as a major bottleneck. CM’s representatives and separate officers were appointed for each hospital, who ensured that a patient is now first taken in and paperwork done later.
  5. Easy availability of hospital beds – Several steps were taken to drastically increase the number of beds in both private and government hospitals. Now, the problems of shortage of hospital beds has been resolved. Against an availability of 15000 covid hospital beds, only 4500 are occupied today.
  6. Increased ICU Capacity – As serious Corona patients, especially those with comorbidities, often need ICU, several steps were taken to increase emergency care infrastructure. Against an availability of 2000 ICU beds, only 1100 are occupied today.

With Delhi starting country’s first Plasma bank and actively encouraging people to donate their plasma, more serious patients are benefitting from Plasma therapy. It is hoped that this will further bring down the mortality rate in Delhi.

CM took a review meeting on Friday to discuss what measures need to be taken to further reduce mortality. Since now almost all deaths are taking place in hospitals (nil deaths in home isolation), therefore, it was felt that systems in each hospital need to be examined in detail. CM Arvind Kejriwal has asked for ratio of deaths to total number of patients discharged for each hospital. Hospitals with low ratio would mean better management. Good practices in these hospitals would be studied and improvements will be made in those hospitals where more deaths are taking place. CM will continue monitoring all the serious cases on a daily basis.

Overall, the reducing positivity rate, the higher testing, reducing number of deaths, high recovery rate, high availability of beds are all pointing towards the situation in Delhi improving quickly.