The Brazilian state of Mato Grosso ran out of available intensive care unit beds on Monday, the state’s public prosecutor said.
According to the state’s health secretary, there were only five available ICU beds on Monday, but later that day, Alexandre Guedes, a prosecutor at the State Public Prosecution Office, told CNN that demand for the 332 total ICU beds in the state had exceeded supply.
“When the [State Health Secretary] did the official report, those five beds were available. But they’ve remained this way only for a short time. We have a list of people who are still waiting for an ICU bed to be available. Some of them will die waiting for intensive care treatment,” Guedes said.
There have been 37 lawsuits filed by Covid-19 patients at the Mato Grosso State Court of Justice for more ICU beds to be made available, according to a judge of the Specialized Health Court of Mato Grosso, José Luiz Leite Lindote.
Some background: Since the pandemic started in Brazil in mid-March, Mato Grosso Gov. Mauro Mendes refused to build field hospitals, saying that the money is better spent by bolstering existing health facilities and adding ICU beds there. In a statement to CNN Monday, the state government press office said “that will benefit the population of Mato Grosso, not only during the pandemic.”
Other than Sinop, a thriving agribusiness city in the north of the state, there are no field hospitals outside the state capital Cuiabá. This means patients from the countryside need to travel to the capital for adequate health treatment.
“And there is still no prospect of opening a field hospital in Cuiabá,” Guedes said Monday.
As of Monday, Brazil has at least 1,884,967 cases of the virus and 72,833 deaths.