In the past five days, around 80 healthcare workers, including doctors and Asha workers, have tested positive for Covid in Bengaluru. The state capital is reporting on average around 22,000 cases daily. Amid the rise in cases, the Karnataka government has issued an advisory requesting the public to visit hospitals only in case of an emergency.
"Though there is a government advisory, not all issues can be addressed through online consultations. It becomes difficult. The government's advisory is to curb the spread of the virus in the hospital premises without much crowding," said Arif, a patient visiting CV Raman General Hospital.
Kalai, another patient visiting Akshaya Multi Specialty hospital for fever, said, "If government is issuing such an advisory, where do we go? We have to go to a hospital if we have any symptoms or experiencing fever. What is the other available option?"
Dr Rigesh TV, who is the Managing Director of Akshaya Multi Speciality hospital, said the healthcare system is now overwhelmed due to the increase in admissions.
"We have seen around 70-80% jump in OPD consultations. That's quite a significant number. A lot of health workers are being infected. That could be the reason why the government has issued this notification. But the other part of it is if you're not going to allow the patients to walk-in if they are sick where are they going to go?"
Manipal hospital in Bengaluru, a prominent hospital in the city, has seen a 200 per cent increase in hospital admissions. The government advisory will ensure hospitals are not overwhelmed.
"In the last two-three weeks we have seen an increase in admissions both in the ward and in the ICUs. There has been a two-three fold increase over 200 per cent rise in hospital admissions. Fortunately, all these patients are having a short stay in the hospital and are recovering fast and there is no increase in deaths," said Dr Sunil Karanth, Chairman, Critical Care Medicine, Manipal Hospital.
Patients with mild symptoms and those who require outpatient care have now been advised by the Karnataka government to not visit hospitals for the next few weeks.
"This will help us to allocate the beds, human resources and other facilities to the critically ill and to the Covid patients. Also, this will ensure that Covid-appropriate behaviour is followed within the hospital premises," he added.
The notification has been issued in public interest to ensure that there is no crowding at the hospitals at a time when healthcare workers are testing positive and Bengaluru is witnessing a considerable jump in cases.