As many as 16 Covid-19 patients have allegedly died in two days in two districts of Andhra Pradesh after a glitch in the supply of oxygen at a government hospital in Anantapur and private facility in Kurnool, reported The Times of India on Sunday. However, the district authorities claimed that not all the deaths were due to a snag of oxygen supply.

Eleven of these deaths occurred in a died at the Anantapur Government General Hospital on Saturday and five died at a private facility in Kurnool district.

Anantapur Joint Collector Nishanth Kumar told The Times of India that a total of 21 Covid-19 patients have died at the Anantapur government hospital since Friday due to “various reasons”. However, he did not specify these causes.

Relatives of the patients said that doctors at the hospital told them the deaths were caused due to low pressure in the oxygen supplies.

Out of the 14 that died in the Anantapur Government General Hospital, six patients were in the orthopaedic ward and four in the chest ward. The remaining four were among 180 patients on oxygen support and in the intensive care unit. Unconfirmed reports suggested that the toll may be higher, according to The Hindu.

Anantapur District Collector Gandham Chandrudu refuted that there was a shortage of oxygen and said that complaints about this was being “attended to and being sorted out”, reported The Times of India.

The district official claimed that some people were spreading rumours about a shortage of oxygen deliberately.

“I alerted the GGH [Government General Hospital] Superintendent KSS Venkateswara Rao and Resident Medical Officer about the low pressure of oxygen, but they were in the denial,” Anantapur Urban MLA Anantha Venkatarami Reddy told The Hindu. “They corrected themselves only after a series of deaths took place in the evening.”

Despite multiple complaints, the Anantapur joint collector with other officials reached the district hospital around 7 pm to try to fix the oxygen pipeline. This work was underway till 9 pm on Saturday.

In Kurnool district, the deaths of five Covid-19 patients allegedly occurred at the KS Care Hospital due to a shortage of oxygen, reported The Hans India. The hospital was reported to not have the permission to treat coronavirus patients.

However, Kurnool district collector G Veera Pandiyan said that only two patients had died in the incident. The other patients at the hospital were moved to the Kurnool Government General Hospital, the district official added.

A criminal case was registered against the managing director of the private hospital and more action will be taken under the Disaster Management Act, Pandiyan told The Hans India. He also ordered the district medical and health officer Dr Rama Giddaiah, the Aarogyasri district coordinator and a team of healthcare workers to visit the hospital to investigate the incident.

Pandiyan added that only 28 medical facilities, including three government hospitals in Adoni, Nandyal and Kurnool, had been designated as Covid care hospitals.

As of Sunday morning, there were 13,0752 active Covid-19 cases in Andhra Pradesh, 98,2297 had recovered and the toll stood at 8,053.

Follow today’s updates on Covid-19 here