Lockdown, home treatment reduce NHSL admissions by 75% 

  • Covid-19 admissions at Lady Ridgeway also down 

By Pamodi Waravita 

National Hospital of Sri Lanka (NHSL) Consultant Endocrinologist and Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) Vice President Dr. Manilka Sumanatilleke said yesterday (19) that the number of patients admitted due to the Covid-19 virus to the NHSL has reduced by approximately 75% since the lockdown began on 21 August. 

“We have seen admissions reduce by about 75% since the lockdown began. In my ward, I had around 45 patients in mid-August. It has now reduced to about five to 10 patients. The number of patients who require oxygen has also decreased. I think we were able to achieve at least this level of control due to the current partial lockdown and the implementation of home treatment or triaging method for non-serious patients,” Dr. Sumanatilleke told The Morning yesterday. 

Dr. Sumanatilleke said that the lockdown has helped them determine that it was public transport and social gatherings such as weddings and funerals which served as superspreader events previously. He cautioned that once the government-imposed travel restrictions are lifted on 1 October, the country needs an effective method to ensure that these superspreader incidents do not take place. 

“The Government should ensure that public transport functions at only half capacity in well ventilated vehicles. At the rate that the current speedy vaccination drive is progressing, we would need at least one and a half more months until at least 75% of the population is fully vaccinated and have obtained full immunity, which is two weeks after the second dose is administered. The way I see it, we can only expect some sort of relaxation by December,” he said. 

He stressed that although the Government has stated that it will lift the travel restrictions on 1 October, the public must practice caution and restraint. 

Meanwhile, Lady Ridgeway Children’s Hospital (LRH) Director Dr. G. Wijesuriya, speaking to the media on Saturday (18), said that although about 200 children were receiving hospital treatment for the virus at the LRH two weeks ago, this number has now reduced to about 60 children. He added that similarly, the number of daily hospital admissions have reduced to about eight to 10 cases per day, from about 30 cases per day two weeks ago. 

“Some have the misconception that the number of hospital admissions has reduced because we reduced testing. That is not correct. We do a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test or RAT (rapid antigen test) on every patient who comes to our hospitals. From our hospital records, we have noticed a decline in the number of hospital admissions,” said Dr. Wijesuriya. 

According to the Health Promotion Bureau (HPB), 18 September recorded the lowest number of daily Covid-19 cases for this month – 1,986. The HPB statistics also note that daily investigations (PCR tests and RATs) conducted per day have reduced in September.