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Monday, August 10, 2020

Karnataka Covid-19 wrap: Ballari first district to release data on infected health workers; free tests for some in capital

The Bengaluru civic body has announced free Covid-19 tests for people suffering from Influenza-like Illness or Severe Acute Respiratory Illness.

Written by Ralph Alex Arakal | Bengaluru | Updated: July 10, 2020 10:45:03 am
Bengaluru: Beds are lined at a temporary COVID-19 care centre for the treatment of infected patients, at Bengaluru International Exhibition Centre (BIEC) in Bengaluru, Wednesday, July 8, 2020. (File/PTI)

The Ballari district administration Thursday became the first in the state to release data on health workers infected with Covid-19, saying as many as 108 of them had so far tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

“Coronavirus infection has been confirmed in 108 healthcare workers, including 47 doctors in Ballari,” a statement from the district administration read.

As on July 9, the district reported 1,488 positive cases, with 783 of them active. At least 40 deaths in Ballari have been linked to the pandemic to date, as per the statistics shared by the Department of Health and Family Welfare Services.

According to the district administration, the infected healthcare workers included 43 doctors in government service and four others in private service.

Among the other 61 healthcare workers were staff nurses, lab technicians, and Group-D employees deployed for Covid-19 work.

CM Yeddyurappa at the Covid care centre in Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (BIEC). (Express photo)

Confirming the same, Ballari in-charge Minister Anand Singh said taking precautions is more important in times of a pandemic than creating panic. “Certain people are spreading panic rather than creating awareness on the same. I will continue to meet the patients, including our health workers who have shown utmost commitment to combat the pandemic, and instil confidence in them.”

However, Ballari Deputy Commissioner S S Nakul told Indianexpress.com, most infections were transmitted to the healthcare workers in a non-Covid hospital. “When patients are treated on a regular basis, the transmission would have happened from positive patients who are mostly asymptomatic. Emergency procedures, however, cannot be delayed for want of test results,” he explained.

Further, Nakul denied allegations that surfaced online that PPE kits and N-95 masks distributed to healthcare workers in the district were of substandard quality. “Such allegations are baseless and false,” he said.

Meanwhile, the district administration began using antigen tests for early triage of probable cases among healthcare workers, in a bid to ensure attention to other healthcare workers, the Deputy Commissioner claimed.

Covid Care Centre at BIEC to have 10,100 beds: Yediyurappa

Soon after inspecting the Covid Care Centre (CCC) set up at the Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (BIEC), Chief Minister Yediyurappa said the facility will have the capacity to isolate and manage 10,100 asymptomatic Covid-19 patients.

“The beds will be spread across five halls. For every 100 patients, one doctor, two nurses, one supporting staff, one housekeeping staff, and two BBMP marshalls will be deployed at BIEC,” he explained.

In total, the government plans to deploy 2200 staff at the largest CCC in the state located at Dasanapura, on the outskirts of Bengaluru city.

Stressing on the importance given to the staff involved at the venue, Yediyurappa said arrangements have been made to distribute safety kits to all.

“In addition, a control room will be established to monitor them 24 hours and this centre will have a tie-up with nearby hospitals. Laundry facility will be provided to wash the blankets and bedsheets of the patients. Segregation and disposal of waste will be done systematically,” he said.

Bengaluru: Now, free Covid-19 tests for ILI, SARI patients in civic, govt hospitals

Bengaluru’s local civic body, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), Thursday announced free Covid-19 tests for people suffering from Influenza-like Illness (ILI) or Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI) at health facilities run by the government and the municipality in the city.

Further, all out-patient services for ILI, SARI patients at BBMP and government hospitals will soon be made free, a notification issued by BBMP read.

“While sample collection in private hospitals has been capped at Rs 350, the facility will be made available only to ILI, SARI patients on the advice of the treating doctor,” BBMP Commissioner B H Anil Kumar clarified in a tweet.

The local civic body has published the full list of fever clinics, referral hospitals, and private hospitals in the city providing the facility.

According to an analysis by the BBMP Covid-19 War Room, the share of SARI, ILI cases rose from 9 per cent of the total Covid-19 cases till May 31 to 14.4 per cent as on July 8. During the third week of June, such cases amounted to over 55 per cent of the total fresh Covid-19 cases reported in Bengaluru.

Earlier, the Karnataka Health Department had decided to test all patients succumbing to ILI or SARI.

Swabs will be collected and sent for testing within 6 hours of death. “In case of obtaining a coronavirus positive result, all close contacts of the deceased will be tested as primary contacts,” Pankaj Kumar Pandey, Karnataka Health Commissioner had said.

According to the World Health Organisation, an ILI case is defined as an acute respiratory infection with a fever of 38 C° and cough, with onset within the last 10 days.

As on Wednesday, Bengaluru has reported 12,509 positive cases cumulatively, with 10,103 of them remaining active. The capital city has also witnessed the most number of deaths linked to the pandemic in the state, with 177 people succumbing to the infection so far.

While Bengaluru accounts for over 43 per cent of the total cases in Karnataka, the city has also reported over 37 per cent of the total fatalities linked to the pandemic in the state so far.

Testing numbers in state cross 20,000 after Centre visit

A couple of days after a visiting Union Health Ministry team recommended ramping up testing, Karnataka conducted over 20,000 tests in a single day for the first time since the pandemic began, on Thursday.

According to statistics shared by the Department of Health and Family Welfare Services, 20,028 tests were done on July 9. The figures were 19,134 on July 8, and 17,742 on July 7.

The state has been testing only around 15,000 samples on a daily basis, with a peak of 18,307 tests on June 2. While states with heavy Covid-19 caseloads like Delhi and Tamil Nadu are testing 29,750 persons and 15,393 persons per million, respectively, as of July 5, Karnataka’s figure is at only 9,741 per million, though it is still higher than the national figure of 6,946 per million.

Bengaluru top cop visits Kalasipalya police station

Bengaluru City Police (BCP) Commissioner Bhaskar Rao Thursday visited Kalasipalya police station in the city, where one death and 26 positive cases of Covid-19 were reported last month.

Bengaluru City Police (BCP) Commissioner Bhaskar Rao at Kalasipalya police station.

The police station, in one of the most populous areas in the city, was then sealed for 11 days from June 19 to 29.

“The Commissioner’s visit to the station reaffirms our resolve to fight until the death of coronavirus,” Hemant Nimbalkar IPS, IGP & Additional Commissioner of Police (Administration), BCP said.

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