The spike in COVID-19 cases in Karnataka, particularly in Bengaluru, has taken the state government by surprise with its timing. Amid the surge in number of infections, the BS Yediyurappa-led government has said that the testing in the city will be ramped up.
"In addition to the existing facilities we need to add many more labs for more testing. Shortly, we will be starting the antigen testing also so that active cases can be detected very fast. It is a very rapid test which will be shortly introduced. The process of procurement is on. Once it is procured, we will initiate and instantly test thousands of people and control and contain the transmission of the disease more actively," Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Ashwath Narayan, told NDTV.
Bengaluru has a high positivity rate of over 8 per cent from the over one lakh 33 thousand tests done so far. However, the testing numbers are still much less than in other states like Delhi.
Meanwhile, Karnataka Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar has said the surge in the number of COVID-19 cases that the city is witnessing now was expected by July end.
"We knew there would be a surge as soon as we began lifting the lockdown. But we didn't have the information that it would grow at this rate. We expected these numbers at the end of July but it has happened a little earlier. But there is no need for panic. We are making all preparations. I am not saying that there are no problems - but we will correct those too," he said.
Among those problems are delay in ambulances arriving to collect patients and challenges in finding a hospital bed.
Dr Sudhakar said these serious issues were being addressed.
"In just two days time, all this information will be on the Dashboard in our BBMP war room. As soon as a positive case with symptoms is confirmed, we will call them and tell them to be ready - a vehicle will come for you at this time and you will be taken to a COVID Care Centre or a hospital if you want that," he said.
He also clarified that any vehicle, not necessarily an ambulance, would be suitable to take an asymptomatic patient to a COVID Care Centre - which would mean less ambulance trips required.
"Any vehicle is fine for asymptomatic patients. They don't need to be taken in an ambulance. It is not being done because there is no ambulance," said the Medical Education Minister.
As of July 7 evening, Karnakata reported 26,815 COVID-19 positive cases, which includes 416 deaths and 11,098 discharges, and out of these 11,361 infections are from Bengaluru.
State authorities still insist that Karnataka and Bengaluru are managing well - that the number of cases in Bengaluru is still a fraction of other big cities. But cases have more than doubled since the month began - and the need for testing, ambulances and beds for COVID care is only growing day by day.