Visuals of bodies of Covid-19 patients lying on the floor and on stretchers outside a government hospital in Chhattisgarh has triggered alarm about the situation in the state, NDTV reported on Monday.
The morgue of the Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar Memorial Hospital in Raipur has reportedly run out of storage as the state tackles a record rise in coronavirus cases.
One video showed bodies on stretchers outside a facility with medical workers in personal protective equipment around them.
Chhattisgarh Health Minister TS Singh Deo told PTI that the overall situation in the state is “very concerning”. “The district administration and the municipal corporation have been asked to ensure the bodies are cremated at the earliest,” he added.
The hospital’s officials said that bodies have outstripped the capacity in their mortuary and that crematoriums were also operating at full capacity.
“No one could have guessed that there would be so many deaths all at once,” Raipur’s Chief Medical and Health Officer Meera Baghel told NDTV. “We have enough freezers for the usual number of deaths. But we just can’t understand how places with one to two deaths are reporting 10-20. If we prepare for 10 to 20, [instead] 50 to 60 people are dying. How can we arrange freezers for so many people at once? Even crematoriums are overwhelmed.”
Baghel said the Covid-19 situation had been brought under control in Raipur, but added that the authorities were “not able to size up this new wave yet”. “We are seeing cases where even asymptomatic patients are deteriorating really fast and dying of heart attacks,” she said.
Government sets up electric crematoriums
The Congress-led Chhattisgarh government has started the process of setting up electronic cremation facilities in six urban areas due to the sharp increase in deaths in the state. “I have ordered electric crematoriums to be built in Raipur, Durg, Bilaspur, Bhilai, Risali and Korba,” state Urban Development Minister Shiv Kumar Dehariya told The Times of India.
The official numbers show more than 700 deaths in the last 12 days, the newspaper reported on Tuesday. The situation is grim in Raipur, which has reported 79 deaths in two days, and where the dead are being cremated in open grounds, according to the newspaper.
Meanwhile, the Union health ministry said Chhattisgarh was among 10 states that have reported a rise in the daily Covid-19 cases. As of Tuesday morning, there are 98,856 active Covid-19 cases in the state and 3,52,986 patients have recovered from the disease.
Earlier this week, the Centre’s multi-disciplinary teams deployed in 50 districts across Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Punjab, had flagged several problems with the states’ approach to contain the pandemic.
The central teams deployed to Chhattisgarh reported shortage of RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) testing facilities in Korba, Durg and Balod districts.
The teams asked the state government to expand RT-PCR testing by exploring the use of mobile testing labs. They also said that the public was not following Covid-appropriate behaviour.