For just over a week before covid started to escalate, Rafael da Silva, 56, a hospital security officer, had been fighting with COVID-19 symptoms.
After four days of decline, he was admitted to the COVID-19 hospital again, short of breath, and put on oxygen.
“But there are no beds left for intensive care,” said his son.
“They’re trying to find a bed in the city’s only field hospital, but all of them are full.”
As health officials warn that the medical system is on the brink of collapse, Da Silva is one of the hundreds of patients in Rio de Janeiro in dire need of an intensive care bed.
Outside public healthcare systems across Rio de Janeiro, long queues for intensive care beds are emerging with wait times of more than 15 days for some COVID-19 patients.
The Association of Private Hospitals of the State of Rio said that 98 percent of the COVID-19 intensive care beds were occupied for two consecutive weeks, also in private health centers.
In Brazil, the number of cases of COVID-19 peaked at the end of July, in the middle of winter, followed by three months of steady dropping numbers.
In Rio, 1,460 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized last weekend.
Of the 273 patients in critical condition, according to government statistics, 222 of them did not have COVID-19 beds.