Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: With the second wave of coronavirus now kicking in the pre-peak phase in the State, the disconcerting fact to the fore is the ICU occupancy in the State is already brimming high at 86 per cent today if the number of functional ICU beds in the State is only considered.

As per the data available with the State Health Department, before the start of the pandemic, the State had mere 306 ICU beds. The number of ICU beds in Odisha at the beginning of February 2021 stood at 383. Between April 2020 – January 2021, Odisha had added nearly 80 ICU beds.

Meanwhile, the ICU occupancy in the State on April 17, 2021, stood at 329. The occupancy proportion vis-a-vis functional ICU beds as of today stood at a massive 86 per cent.

The high occupancy rate cannot be attributed to Covid-19 alone. The rate is an aggregate of the critical care requirements for the in-patients admitted to for treatment of other critical ailments, including Covid-19 complications.


The lines of worry here are the current Ro rate (net transmission rate) in Odisha has been estimated at around 2. And if the Union Health Ministry data on demand of critical care during the first wave is taken into account, then the demand for ICU care or treatment in a State will simply double in the peak period of the epidemic when the transmission rate (Ro) will remain high at around 2.


Denying that the ICU occupancy in the State is at around 86 per cent, the State Public Health Director Niranjan Mishra said,

“Our ICU bed capacity is 541. At present only 329 beds are occupied, therefore the occupancy rate is around 60 per cent,” he claimed and further added that we don’t foresee any crisis in critical care management of Covid-19 cases in the State during peak time.

“As per first wave data, nearly 6 in every 100 symptomatic positive patients require critical care hospitalisation in the State. The State Health Department is fully geared to tackle the second wave peak. Our strategy is on effective case management that will eventually reduce the dependence on critical (ICU) hospitalisation,” he observed.


As per the statement of State Public Health Director Niranjan Mishra, the capacity of ICU beds in Odisha is 541. The ICU capacity means the potential of Odisha to have such a number of beds in the critical care department. And the occupancy proportion vis-a-vis the capacity is rightly around 60 per cent.

But the occupancy rate when seen in the context of functional ICU beds (383 on Feb 1, 2021), the rate is estimated at around 86 per cent.

  • If Union Health Ministry first wave data is to be believed, then demand for ICU bed will touch around 800 during the peak outbreak in the State, when the capacity in the State is around 541.


As per the data available with the State Health Department, the number of active Covid-19 symptomatic patients in the State stood at below 5000. The demand for critical care hospitalisation has, thus, been estimated on an average at below 300, when the ICU bed capacity in the State is estimated at 541.


The best bet before the State is notwithstanding the explosion of the daily counts, if over 80 per cent of the daily cases remain asymptomatic and, more so, if the State health authorities swiftly isolate nearly one-fifth of symptomatic positives within 24-hours of detection, then Odisha can meet the ICU challenge quite well.

The need of the hour, therefore, is effective case management, which is Odisha’s anti-Covid-19 strategy as claimed by State Public Health Director Niranjan Mishra.