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Karnataka bans home isolation for COVID patients in rural areas and urban slums

Hostels to be transformed into Covid Care Centres

PTI16-07-2020_000034A Representational image | PTI

The Karnataka government has decided not to allow home isolation of COVID-19 patients who are asymptomatic and those with mild symptoms in the rural areas and urban slums. It is now mandatory for these patients to be admitted to the Covid Care Centres (CCC). 

Deputy chief minister and State Covid Taskforce chief Dr C.N. Ashwatha Narayan, who held a press meet on Saturday, informed that a Covid Care Centre will come up at the primary health centre (PHC) level. 

"Hostels in rural areas will be transformed into CCCs, where the patients will be isolated and treated. The deputy commissioners have been entrusted with the responsibility to set up these centres. Door-to-door rapid antigen tests (RAT) will be conducted at viral hotspots," said Dr Ashwath Narayan. 

To overcome the shortage of beds for critical care, the government plans to have 100 ICU beds in each district hospital. For this, the necessary infrastructure, manpower and oxygen generating units will be provided to every district hospital. 

In the 207 community health centres which have 30 beds each, all beds will be converted into oxygenated beds. Of these, every CHC will have five ICU beds and five HDU beds. In taluk hospitals, 50 ICU beds including 15 ventilator and six pediatric beds will be made available. 

Each of the district centres, which has no medical college, will now have 100 ICU beds. Physical triage will be made compulsory for hospitalization for judicious use of the resources.  

The state government will be procuring 1000 oxygen utility regulatory devices developed by DRDO, 900 devices will be automatic model costing Rs 10,000 each and the remaining will be the manual type costing Rs 6,000 per unit. Nine districts will set up oxygen bottling plants. 

Oxygen generators with a capacity to produce 200-300 ltr/minute will be set up in the community health centres. All the beds in taluk hospitals will be oxygenated through oxygen generators with a production capacity of 500-600 ltr/minute.

 Vaccine strategy

The task force approved funding of Rs 843 crore towards a global tender for vaccines. 

The minister reiterated that the priority will be given for administering the second dose of the vaccine. 

"At present, we are administering only the second dose of Covaxin. Those who have completed six weeks after taking the first dose will be given priority. For Covishield, those who have completed 12 weeks after the first job will be given priority. However, people above 45 years and awaiting the first dose will be given priority for wider vaccine coverage. The jabs for the 18-44 yrs age group will be delayed as a new App will be developed and interfaced with the Cowin App. The vaccination schedule will be prepared taking into account the availability of vaccines," explained Dr Ashwath Narayan, adding that a priority list for administering vaccines is being prepared to include those working in the postal and agriculture department, banks and internet service providers. 

The vaccination drive will now be held out of the hospitals and in open spaces like school grounds. 

BBMP to forego health management of Bengaluru?

The task force will soon be constituting a committee to review the bifurcation of the health management system of Bengaluru, which is currently under the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). "We want to bring the health management system of Bengaluru under the Health and Family Welfare department," said the minister.

A 100-bed secondary hospital in each of the assembly constituencies of Bengaluru and a tertiary care hospital for every four constituencies are also on the cards.

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