13 days from reaching the last stage of Rio’s flexibility plan – the so-called Conservative Phase –, a bed occupancy rate for Covid-19 reached 90% in the private network.
“After the September 7 holiday, we started to notice an increase in the demand for patients with Covid-19 symptom. Of the beds currently offered to Covid-19, we have 90% occupancy“, says Graccho Alvim, a pediatrician and director of the Association of Hospitals of the State of Rio de Janeiro.
According to him, there are about 500 beds destined for Covid in the private network – approximately 450 of them are occupied.
In the SUS network of the municipality – which includes ICU beds in municipal, state and federal units – the occupancy percentage is 75%. In wards, the rate is 57%.
Alvim explains that May was the worst time of the pandemic in Rio, with 97% occupancy in the private network. At that time, elective surgeries were suspended and all beds were destined for the treatment of Covid-19 or for urgencies and emergencies.
In July, there was a decrease in the contagion rate and, at the beginning of August, the occupancy rate dropped significantly, reaching 30%. Without demand, Covid beds were transformed into beds for emergencies and cardiac and orthopedic surgeries, for example.
Possibility of expanding beds
Despite the 90% rate, Alvim explains that it is easier to manage supply and demand on the private network than in the public network.
“The private network has the capacity to regulate the Covid bed according to the growth of the disease. If we have an exponential growth and need twice as many beds, we are able to allocate those beds that are not Covid and transform them in Covid “, says the pediatrician.
“There is a hospital that at the beginning of August had 3 patients from Covid. Today he has 35. He had to reopen two more ICUs to be able to attend these patients ”.
Increase in cases among children
Alvim explains, however, that the biggest concern is the increase in the contagion of children. Since Thursday, classes are authorized in the private school system.
“The children were inmates. Now they go out, go to the beach. We noticed an increase in contagion and hospitalization of children”, explains the pediatrician, who was unable to specify the percentage.
“The big problem is that pediatric ICU beds are scarce. There are few. We don’t have such a large offer because for many years the children were healthy.”
“Obviously, what concerns us also is that we currently no longer have the rear hospitals, which are field hospitals. This is also a concern, because there will be a greater flow within the private network ”.
For the doctor, the expectation is an increase in cases of Covid in Rio, mainly because of the crowding on the beaches.
“If we check the population, even how it is behaving, it is a matter of time before we have an increase. We had this experience of studying both in Florida and in California. Florida reached 97% occupancy after the beaches reopened ”.
New phase of flexibility and full beaches
Cariocas crowd the beach on the hottest day of the year – Photo: Marcos Serra Lima / G1
On Thursday (1), a new phase of easing isolation began in Rio. Events were opened in open spaces, concerts and parties with restricted capacity.
Cinemas, which were already authorized, but could not sell popcorn, can now. With that, most of the rooms in the city reopened on Thursday.
Nightclubs, samba circles and the opening of dance floors are prohibited.
Cariocas crowd beaches even in the middle of a pandemic
On the beaches, nothing has changed. Sea bathing is allowed, but staying on the sand is still prohibited. What is seen on the shore, however, is a wave of disrespect and lack of supervision.
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In a tour of the city this Friday morning, with a record heat forecast, the G1 found full sands and many people with chairs and umbrellas (see in the images below).
Full beach this Friday (2) in Rio – Photo: Marcos Serra Lima / G1
Ipanema Beach this Friday – Photo: Marcos Serra Lima / G1
Young people on the beach in the West Zone of Rio de Janeiro this Friday (2) – Photo: Marcos Serra Lima / G1