Kashmir’s top hospital runs out of beds as COVID-19 surges

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Kashmir’s premier tertiary care hospital in Srinagar has run out of space to accommodate any more COVID-19 patients while the Valley is being rattled by the lethal second wave of the coronavirus.

Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) in Soura area of the city has been facing an unexpected spike in the inflow of coronavirus-infected patients, with a total tally touching record high in 2021.

G H Yatoo, Nodal Officer for COVID-19 at SKIMS, told The Kashmir Walla that the hospital has 260 beds in different wards for infected patients — and all are occupied.

Yatoo said that the hospital has seen a four to five times rise in the inflow of infected patients at the hospital since March. “If the need arises, bed facilities for the infected patients will be enhanced,” he said.

While India has been detecting more COVID-19 cases in a day than any other country in the world, Jammu and Kashmir saw more than 390 percent increase in patients since the onset of the tourism season in March this year.

The hospital cancelled all the sanctioned leaves of the staff with immediate effect on Saturday “in view of the surge of COVID-19 pandemic cases” in the region.

Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Monday said hospitals in Kashmir are witnessing a surge in severe cases of infection. “A few weeks ago, we had a drop in a number of severe cases, but over the last few days hospitals are seeing an increase in the number of seriously-ill Covid-19 patients, much like we saw last spring,” DAK President and influenza expert Dr. Nisar ul Hassan said.

Yatoo said that symptoms in the infected patient vary at times but mostly it was observed that there are alike symptoms in the patients affected as it used to be earlier. “Out Patient Department (OPD) wouldn’t be closed at the hospital even if the rise in the case continues,” he said. “We didn’t close the OPD last year when the outbreak of the virus took place.”

Since March 2020 when the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Kashmir, the tally of infected people has risen to a total of 75,345 and 1267 deaths.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration has imposed a night curfew in eight districts, including twin capitals, from 10 PM to 6 AM, since 9 April in a bid to contain the spread of the virus.

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