The COVID-19 field hospital set up on the premises of what was the earlier Muscat International Airport is almost full to capacity due to a large number of patients needing treatment, according to Dr Nabil al Lawati, director of the hospital.
The Ministry of Health established the facility with 100 beds in October 2020 to relieve the pressure on other hospitals in the sultanate. However, the facility is currently under pressure as a result of the urgent need for more beds. The requirement of more medical staff is also impeding progress.
Speaking to Muscat Daily, Dr Lawati said, “The situation is severe when compared to what we witnessed last year and the new variant is spreading faster. Almost 20 patients have been admitted here everyday for the last two weeks.”
Since its opening in October 2020, he informed that the field hospital received 800 patients and he managed operations with the help of 180 doctors and nurses.
“Occupancy rate has continued to exceed 90 per cent for sometime. We have 100 beds equipped to receive COVID-19 patients, but 95 are already taken. This number changes according to the cases of recovery. The hospital receives patients from various governorates. These cases are transferred directly from hospitals to us after initial examination,” said Dr Lawati.
The hospital is currently looking to expand capacity, but shortage of medical staff, especially nurses, poses a challenge. “We have recalled all the doctors and nurses who were on vacation. One nurse supervises about six patients, while in normal circumstances, they would supervise one or two patients. We have 22 bed for critical cases, which are all currently occupied.”
He noted that the steady rise in cases is due to noncompliance of preventive measures by citizens and residents. “The government has provided and will continue to provide every possible facility to combat the pandemic, but every individual, family and community too has a responsibility. I urge people to get vaccinated and adhere to precautionary guidelines to limit the spread of the virus.”