Karnataka has increased ICU beds 2.5 times: Health Minister

Anil Urs Bengaluru | Updated on April 23, 2021

Also placed orders to procure 70K vials of Remdesivir, Says Karnataka Health Minister

As the second wave of Covid infection cases mounted in Karnataka, especially in Bengaluru, at an alarming rate, K Sudhakar, who is the minister for medical education shares how the state government is tackling it.

In an interview with BusinessLine, he spells out the measures that he and his department plans to undertake to handle the pandemic. Excerpts:

What is the action plan to tackle the second wave of infection sweeping the state?

One of the most important differences is that the first wave initially spread slowly due to early stringent government measures like complete lockdown along with strong citizens’ vigilance.

This time however, people seem to have lowered their guard and the double mutant strain is further contributing to the virus spread.

We are making sincere efforts to further increase medical infrastructure and ensure sufficient supply of medical oxygen and anti-viral drug Remdesivir.

What is the status of hospital bed availability in the state and in Bengaluru?

Since March 2020, oxygenated beds have been increased from 1,970 to 23,884. ICU beds with a ventilator have been increased from 610 to 2,108. In Bengaluru, we have 13,547 beds in private hospitals out of which 560 are oxygenated beds. We have 879 ventilators. There are 14 private medical colleges which have 3,618 oxygenated beds, 651 ICU and 281 ventilators.

What is the current status of Remdesivir availability?

The State government has already placed orders to procure 70,000 vials of Remdesivir. We have already started receiving those as per schedule. Centre had also allocated additional 25,000 vials to Karnataka till April 30.

We are also trying airlift directly two lakh vials of Remdesivir. I have personally spoken to Biocon CMD Kiran Mazumdar Shaw for additional procurement.

Has the government found solutions for shortage of medical oxygen?

The installed production capacity in Karnataka is about 870 tonnes. The estimate is that we would need about 1,500 tonnes by May. We have already requested industries to divert maximum industrial oxygen for medical usage purposes. Also Karnataka has been allocated six oxygen plants with 100 litres per minute capacity each under PM Cares Fund which are being installed in government hospitals. All plants are expected to be operational by the end of this month; 40 Plants will be installed by the State government in next three months out of which 10 are 500 lpm capacity, 30 are 390 lpm. A dedicated war room has been established at the Office of the Drugs Controller to streamline oxygen supply.

How much vaccine is Karnataka procuring from SII-AstraZeneca & Bharat Biotech?

We are working on it, and will provide you details once it is finalised.

What is the action plan for vaccine roll out for above 18 years?

The Union Government has made vaccination open for all from May 1. Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Thursday decided to procure 1 crore doses of Covid-19 vaccine in the first phase and has earmarked ₹400 crore for this purpose. So far we have administered more than 77 lakh doses of vaccine across the State. We have also allowed vaccination at workplaces if there are more than 100 eligible and willing persons.

Published on April 23, 2021

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