Bengaluru's enormous COVID Care Centre with a capacity for 10,000 beds has started functioning with a few hundred asymptomatic patients.
Dr Suresh Krishna, who has been assigned there, explained what happens at the Centre, located on Tumkur Road, outside the city.
"The vision of the government is to take care of a large number of COVID patients who don't have facilities at their homes where they can take care of themselves - where there is a separate toilet, separate room, where they can quarantine themselves according to the guidelines. So those are the patients who we will call here and take care of them. And, most of them are asymptomatic patients," " he told NDTV.
Patients are assigned to the Centre after being screened at fever clinics and hospitals in the city. When they arrive, they are examined by onsite doctors
"There will be a triage area where the doctor will check whether this patient is symptomatic or asymptomatic. Once the patient is classified as asymptomatic, we will take them in, according to the CDC guidelines, we will treat them with whatever medications prescribed, ten days we will observe them and after the 10th day we will discharge them," said Dr Krishna.
The pandemic is having a major impact on frontline workers such as doctors, who have never seen anything like it before.
Dr Krishna said, "Not our seniors, not even our professors, not even in our textbooks, they have discussed anything like this. First time when I went inside wearing a PPE kit, when I did a duty in BMC, it was totally a new experience. Wearing those dresses for 6-8 hours, not going for regular natural calls, not taking food, taking the torture and facing the patient - this is from the medical perspective. The other is the patients' perspective," he said.
"For patients, there is a huge stigma in society as once one turns positive, they are worried whether the house should be sealed or not, they are worried about the status in the society, they are worried about going to get the test done. These are all new scenarios which we are facing. One more challenge is that a lot of healthcare workers are also dying around the country. So all these challenges make it a more complex situation (sic)," he added.
Dr Krishna also appealed to people to not panic. He said, "What I suggest to patients is that they should not fear. The disease is not a curse. We should face the disease like any other disease. And once we pass through this phase of pandemic, once there is a vaccine, once there is a proper medicine, the intensity of fear and the confusion will come down."
The doctor also said that the healthcare workers are supposed to stay at the Covid Care Centre round the clock.
"Doctors who are posted here, they work round the clock," he said. "There are shifts of 8 hours. Those doctors will be supported by the nursing staff. They will check the vitals and see to the medication whatever prescribed. If the patient becomes sick or serious, we contact the nearby Corona treatment centres. Then we will refer the patients there."
"We have to stay here. 24/7 we have to be here. It is usually ten days of stretch and four weeks of quarantine. At the end of duty, they will again do the test and release us," said the doctor, one in the army of people trying to help India fight the pandemic.