Updated: May 21, 2021 7:15:13 am
Karnataka reported 548 more deaths due to Covid-19 on Thursday, with 326 of them from Bengaluru (Urban and Rural). With this, the cumulative toll in the state has risen to 23,854 since March 10 last year.
Meanwhile, recoveries (52,257) outnumbered new cases (28,869) for the third consecutive day. While 1,20,711 samples were tested across the state, the test positivity rate (TPR) further dipped to 23.91 per cent, as the declining trend continued. The same was 26.46 per cent and 32.50 per cent on Wednesday and Tuesday respectively.
At the same time, Bengaluru Urban registered 9,409 fresh cases and 25,776 recoveries in the last 24 hours.
Karnataka declares black fungus as a notifiable disease
Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar said that Mucormycosis or black fungus infection is now a notifiable disease and that no hospital or medical centre having the capacity to provide treatment should deny admission to patients.
“Since all these specialist doctors are available in our District Hospitals and Government Medical Colleges, people can avail treatment for Mucormycosis in these hospitals apart from Bowring and other designated regional hospitals,” he said.
Earlier this week, Sudhakar said that a total of 97 cases were reported from different parts of the state. He, however, hinted that the number can be more.
Govt asks all private hospitals in Bengaluru to establish step-down facilities
Continuing its efforts to enhance bed availability for Covid-19 patients in Bengaluru, the Karnataka government ordered all hospitals registered with Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust (SAST) to establish step-down facilities by the end of this week.
According to an order issued by the Additional Chief Secretary (Health & Family Welfare) Jawaid Akhtar, all such hospitals in the city have been given a deadline of May 24 to comply with the direction. “It is directed that all hospitals treating Covid-19 patients including those registered with SAST to set up step-down facilities by May 24 and to empower doctors to recommend eligible patients to such facilities,” the order read.
Akhtar said that it had become imperative to make this mandatory to enable doctors to make a decision based on patients’ recovery status and to shift them to step-down facilities. “This would result in more beds being made available for patients requiring critical care, timely interventions, and treatment at hospitals,” he added.
Meanwhile, health department officials noted that 32 hotels in the city were providing over 1,200 beds for treatment facilities to recovering Covid-19 patients.
“However, many prominent hospitals in Bengaluru are yet to tie up with them (hotels) to establish such facilities. This has also led to patients well on the path of recovery and who do not require 24×7 medical attention/hospitalization to continue occupying hospital beds, also leading to a shortfall in beds for new admissions,” a senior official added.
Cap on ambulance charges
The Karnataka government has officially notified a cap in rates allowed to be charged for ambulance services in the state. As per an official order issued by the transport department, patient transport ambulances can charge Rs 1,500 up to 10 kilometre and Rs 12 for each subsequent kilometre, with a waiting charge of Rs 200 per hour.
For ambulances with basic life support (BLS) facilities, the maximum charge is fixed at Rs 2,000 up to 10 kilometres while Rs 12 can be charged for every kilometre thereafter. The waiting charge for BLS ambulance is fixed at Rs 250 per hour.
“The maximum rates include oxygen, ambulance equipment, PPE kit, gloves, mask, shield, sanitisation, driver, and emergency medical technician,” the order mentioned.
With several complaints of ambulances charging exorbitant rates to transport Covid-19 patients and victims, Health and Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar Monday had met Transport Minister Laxman Savadi earlier this month.
Govt orders district admins to conduct audits for Covid-19 deaths, oxygen supply
As Covid cases emerge in other districts beyond Bengaluru, the state government has ordered district administrations to conduct a separate audit for Covid-19 deaths and oxygen supply.
According to an order issued by Chief Secretary P Ravikumar, deputy commissioners have been directed to monitor the supply of oxygen with the help of expert committees formed at the district level.
“Both government and private oxygen demand shall be sent to the state in advance after consultation with the District Health Officer and Assistant Drugs Controllers. Hoarding of excess oxygen should also be checked,” the order mentioned.
Meanwhile, Ravikumar added that death audit should be conducted on a daily basis with the help of an expert committee. “The audit report shall be used to fill gaps in preventing future Covid-19 deaths and the report shall be sent to the state,” he directed.
The orders have been sent to all district administrations, including BBMP in Bengaluru, officials clarified.
Bengaluru police seize over 1,000 vehicles for violating guidelines
Even as most people in Bengaluru adhered to the fortnight-long lockdown announced across the state, the Bengaluru City Police (BCP) seized 1,205 vehicles from different parts of the city on Thursday, between 10 am and 8 pm, for allegedly violating the guidelines.
According to data shared by police, 1,074 two-wheelers, 64 three-wheelers, and 67 four-wheelers were seized during inspections held across the city on weekend. Meanwhile, seven cases were filed under relevant sections of the National Disaster Management Act (NDMA), as per an official release.
Traffic police stop physical verification of documents
In wake of the ongoing second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the Bengaluru Traffic Police announced that they will temporarily halt the physical verification of documents. However, violations will be recorded digitally and challans raised to levy penalty from violators will be sent to the address of the person who owns the erring vehicle, the police said in a statement.
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