Karnataka mulls more steps to contain COVID spread in state

Bengaluru: With positive cases surging by the day, Karnataka would have more measures to contain the Covid spread in the southern state, especially in this tech city, which accounts for 26 per cent of the infections, a minister said on Wednesday.

“More measures will be taken after the chief minister (B.S. Yediyurappa) consults health experts on containing the corona virus spread in the state and Bengaluru since unlock 1.0 began a month ago,” state Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar told reporters here.

According to a task force of health experts, set up by the state government in March to recommend measures in fighting the virus outbreak, positive cases across the state and Bengaluru will spike in the ensuing weeks to peak by August and hopefully reduce by September.

“Positive cases have been spiking across the state, especially in Bengaluru due to infected people coming from high-risk states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat since lockdown-3 was lifted and inter-state travel was permitted,” asserted Sudhakar, a medical doctor by profession.

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Though Karnataka fared better than other states in containing the virus spread since its outbreak in mid-March, positive cases have been rising over a month when the state government began unlock 1.0 from June 1.

According to the latest health bulletin, a record 1,272 patients tested positive in the last 24 hours, taking the southern state’s Covid tally to 16,514, including 8,194 active cases and 253 deaths till date. With 145 cases discharged in the day, 8,063 patients have been cured across the state so far.

Bengaluru again registered a high of 735 positive cases, taking its tally to 5,290, including 4,649 active, as 543 were cured and discharged, while 97 died in the city so far since March 9.

Ballari district in the state’s northern region and Dakshina Kannada in the coastal area also reported 85 and 84 cases since Tuesday.

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“More Covid Care Centres are being set up to treat asymptomatic patients in state-run and private hospitals across the state,” asserted the minister.

The experts, however, suggested that asymptomatic patients and patients with mild symptoms could be kept under home isolation and monitored remotely to reduce the burden of cases on hospitals.

“Priority will be given to patients with severe symptoms and comorbidities for Covid treatment to reduce the doubling rate,” said Sudhakar.

The task force has also advised the state government to strictly enforce wearing mask, washing of hands and maintain social distancing by the people.

“People should be stay home longer, avoid crowded areas, wear mask and keep at least 2-metre physical distance from others when outside home or office,” reiterated the experts.

“Telemedicine should be used to treat more patients. More personnel should be deployed for contact tracing by deputing staff from other departments in the field. More doctors have to be trained in using tele-ICU and ensure 24×7 supply of oxygen and medicines in all hospitals,” the experts told the minister.

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The experts also told the minister to create awareness among the people about the nature of the virus and allay their fears about the infection.

State Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Health Minister B Sriramulu, Chief Secretary T.M. Vijay Bhaskar, BBMP Commissioner Anil Kumar and Sudhakar interacted with the health experts at the state secretariat in the city centre.

Health experts Giridhar Babu, World Health Organisation (WHO) regional team leader Ashish Sathapathy, Manipal hospital head S. Ballal, former KIMS director Anjanappa, Sparsh Hospital chairman Sharan Patil, former Bangalore University vice-chancellor N. Prabhudev, Vikram Hospital head K.C. Satish and Narayana Netralaya chairman Bhujanga Shetty participated in the meeting.

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