With Karnataka recording almost 30,000 new coronavirus cases in data released on Saturday, the state government is trying to increase hospital beds - particularly ICU beds, with a shortfall having resulted due to the huge spike in infections.
The state is talking of setting up thousands of ICU beds in a makeshift hospital. Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar visited the government's Victoria Hospital in Bengaluru for a site inspection for setting up modular ICUs and ventilators.
The minister said, "We are trying to ramp up and augment medical facilities - particularly the ICU beds and healthcare staff. At the same time, we are trying to bring down the infection rate by curbing a lot of economic activities. We are ensuring there is no incentive for people to go out of their homes."
The minister also added that the government is trying to get around 2,000 to 2,500 beds in state capital Bengaluru alone.
"We are trying to expand, and we are trying to establish a makeshift hospital that is only with ICUs and ventilators. Wherever there are tertiary hospitals - that is our medical colleges where we have plenty of healthcare professionals, we would like to augment another 1,500 to 2,000 beds in the rest of Karnataka. And another 2,000 to 2,500 beds only in Bengaluru," Mr Sudhakar added.
The private sector has also been asked to set aside a fixed number of beds for Covid patients and notices have been sent by the Bengaluru civic body to hospitals which have failed to comply. "We have already said that 75 per cent of all categories of beds in private hospitals, private medical colleges have to be earmarked for only treating Covid patients," the minister said.
With oxygen and anti-viral drug Remdesivir being huge tension areas for patients and their families, the minister spoke of increased supply.
"They have realised that Karnataka is already using 500 tonnes of oxygen, so based on the request from the honourable chief minister and the government, they have increased the allocation to almost 802 tonnes per day till April 30. Similarly, the supply and allocation of Remdesivir has also gone up from 25,000 to 1,22,000," he added.
On the ground, people have still been struggling to find hospital beds and oxygen supply. Many messages for help are being posted on social media as the state struggles to cope with the second and more deadly wave of the coronavirus.