Amid reports that Covid-19 patients had to be shifted to other hospitals following disruptions in oxygen supply, the Karnataka government Tuesday said it is planning to install oxygen plants across medical colleges and hospitals.
“Officials have been directed to make necessary arrangements to ensure an adequate supply of liquid oxygen to all hospitals in the state. Measures will also be taken to establish new liquid oxygen plants to meet the high demand,” Medical Education Minister Sudhakar said.
He was meeting reporters after his visit to the Kempegowda Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) from where 47 patients, who had tested positive for COVID-19 and were on oxygen support, were shifted to other hospitals on Monday night.
In another incident on August 14, at least 20 Covid-19 patients were shifted out from CV Raman General Hospital in Indiranagar after an electric short circuit disrupted the working of the centralised oxygen supply line.
Sudhakar admitted that there is a lack of oxygen supply in hospitals “as the number of cases has increased.” He added, “We are taking measures to establish oxygen plants at all medical hospitals across the state. We are in contact with private firms that supply liquid oxygen. The Principal Secretary of Industries & Commerce Department is already in touch with them.”
Karnataka has also requested the Centre to help in setting up more liquid oxygen plants in the state. “The demand for oxygen has gone up by 4 to 5 times due to Covid-19. We have requested Prime Minister Modi to help us in establishing more liquid oxygen plants in the state, during the video conference we had with him last week,” Sudhakar said.
The state government will also regulate the prices of liquid oxygen. “The cost has naturally increased due to an increase in demand. The government will regulate the prices if it is feasible at the state level. For regulating the cost of vendors from other states, we may have to approach the central government,” he said.
Reserve beds for SARI patients without Covid-19 test: Karnataka Health Commissioner
Karnataka Health Commissioner Pankaj Kumar Pandey had directed hospitals in the state to provide beds to patients with Severe Acute Respiratory Infections (SARIs) without a confirmatory COVID-19 test.
Pandey held an online meeting Monday with government and private hospitals to ensure that the same will be implemented soon. “Hospitals empanelled with the Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust will be instructed to reserve ICU beds according to fixed targets, and add beds wherever necessary. The SARI cases will have to be admitted as a potential COVID-19 case,” the Health Commissioner said.
However, after admission, patients will have to undergo a Covid-19 test. “If found positive, the patient will be transferred to the dedicated COVID-19 block of the hospital. If negative, the person will be shifted from the isolation ward to the non-COVID-19 block,” Pandey explained.