Hospitals in the country are yet to be tested by the recent upward trend Covid-19 cases, with beds, intensive care units, and oxygen facilities still in abundant supply at most healthcare facilities.
Bangladesh has maintained a daily transmission rate below 5% since September 21, and the infection rate dipped below 2% on October 22. However, the test positivity rate has been increasing since December 16.
On December 25, the test positivity rate again rose beyond 2% and it was recorded at 2.91% on Sunday.
The health authorities are now confident in their capability to tackle the rising number of cases, with many general, intensive care unit (ICU) and high dependency unit (HDU) beds lying idle at different government and private hospitals.
However, the vast majority of hospital beds are located in Dhaka, and there may be another rush towards the capital if the number of cases starts rising in other divisions.
According to Professor Robed Amin, line director of the Non-Communicable Disease Control (NCDC) unit of the DGHS, the test positivity rate has been increasing linearly in Bangladesh since December 27.
The test positivity jumped by around 60% while death rate by 150% compared to the preceding week. Meanwhile, the number of tests conducted in the last seven days increased by 20%, he said during the virtual Covid bulletin on Sunday.
The government has 852 testing facilities across the country.
“The number of central oxygen lines at different hospitals is increasing, and so is the number of oxygen cylinders. We have enough stock of high flow nasal cannula and oxygen concentrators, which is a very positive sign. Although the transmission rate is in an upward trend, many beds are lying idle at different hospitals,” Amin added.
Regarding Omicron, the latest variant of Covid-19 that is wreaking havoc in many countries, he said most research shows that the chances of hospitalization from the variant is low.
“But there is no alternative to wearing a mask. It is important not only to protect oneself, but also to protect others,” said the expert.