Siriraj Piyamaharajkarun Hospital has announced that it cannot accept any more Covid-19 patients because all beds for critical coronavirus patients are fully occupied.
Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt acknowledged on Saturday that the bed situation for Covid patients was worrying but not yet critical, amid rising infections in the capital.
“Beds for Covid-19 patients at all rooms in the intensive care unit (ICU) and inpatient department (IPD) are fully occupied,” Siriraj Piyamarajkarun Hospital said on its Facebook page on Saturday.
“As well, the emergency department also has Covid-19 patients who are awaiting referral. Thus, the hospital cannot accommodate more Covid-19 patients. We apologise for this inconvenience.”
The 345-bed hospital is the private offshoot of the adjacent Siriraj Hospital, the country’s best-known public hospital, located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River.
Dr Nitipatana Chierakul, head of the respiratory disease and tuberculosis division at Siriraj Hospital, said a new wave of Covid infections has hit the country since April with the number of daily cases surging.
Earlier, health officials predicted that infections would drop after the Songkran festival.
During the general election earlier this month, many people returned to their home provinces to cast ballots and tourist arrivals continued to rise. This caused the number of Covid cases to keep rising, he said.
Up until early April, about 20 Covid patients a day were seeking treatment at Siriraj Hospital. Lately, the figure has risen to around 400 a day, he noted.
It is estimated that only about 2% of every 100 infected patients receive treatment at a hospital.
Nationwide, the number of Covid patients admitted to hospital averaged 2,632 per day in the period from May 14-20, according to the Department of Disease Control at the Ministry of Public Health.
Mr Chadchart, meanwhile, said the surge in Covid infections was worrying. Data from hospitals under the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration showed a daily average of 1,300 to 1,500 infected people seeking treatment. The real infection numbers may be higher by 2-3 times, he said.
About 2-3% of infected patients had serious symptoms, particularly those who had underlying diseases and the elderly, he said.
“Now, about 70% of hospital beds are occupied by Covid-19 patients. The bed situation is not yet at a critical level,” said the governor.
News of the disclosure by Siriraj Piyamaharajkarun Hospital was widely circulated and led some people to believe the same problem existed at its parent institution as well.
That prompted Siriraj Hospital to issue a clarification that the bed situation for Covid-19 patients there was still controllable and normal. The public hospital had not added more beds as it had done earlier when the pandemic was at its peak.
The hospital was treating both patients with mild Covid symptoms and those with severe symptoms, said Dr Apichart Asavamongkolkul, dean of the Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University.
Most of the patients were in the so-called 608 high-risk group — people aged 60 years and over, those with eight underlying diseases, and pregnant women – who had not been vaccinated for a long time.
Dr Apichart urged people in these risk groups to update their Covid-19 booster shots.