Steep spike in COVID-19 cases likely in July-August, warns Karnataka minister
Revenue Minister R Ashoka admitted that not just increased testing but increased spread of infection too is causing the spike.
BENGALURU: Frontline workers in Karnataka have been asked to mentally prepare themselves to handle the COVID-19 crisis for the next six months.
Revenue minister R Ashoka, who has temporarily been handed change of COVID-19 management for Bengaluru, on Monday said that the state and city will see a further steep spike in cases in July-August according to the experts' committee report. While spelling out the contingency plan for Bengaluru, Ashoka admitted that not just increased testing but increased spread of infection too is causing the spike.
"Beds in all private and government hospitals set aside for COVID-19 treatment will be numbered. We will link bed numbers to patient numbers to keep real time track of beds as and when they get vacant and patients are discharged. All staff who attend to patients wearing PPE kits have been asked to sport a name and designation badge for easy identification. Staff including doctors will henceforth log their duty time. Videos of doctors treating patients will be reviewed by hospital superintendents to keep a check on attention and care given to patients," Ashoka said.
To incentivise their services, the government is also mulling hiking the salaries of frontline healthcare professionals.
Setting up a 20-bed ICU facility at Shantinagar government hospital, scaling up beds in isolation and COVID care centres, allowing Victoria hospital to hire six ambulances for the next six months, hiring 85 AYUSH and dental doctors as assistants on contract basis for BBMP, deputing newly appointed Tehsildars of the revenue department to oversee setting up of new hospitals and COVID-19 facilities across the state as observers, alloting two hearse vehicles for each zone, identifying and authorising 10 NGO workers in each ward to help shift people with COVID-19 to designated centres, sanitisation of localities and awareness programmes against stigmatisation of COVID patients are some of the key contingency plans announced by Ashoka.
"The 85 AYUSH and dental doctors will be supervised by MBBS doctors and will assist them in handling cases at the local level," he said. Senior IAS officer Tushar Girinath will be in charge of bed allotment while Rajendra Kumar Kataria will be placed in charge of the COVID-19 bed centre.
A meeting of Bengaluru corporators will also be called in three sessions to ensure social distancing at the BBMP headquarters. "The corporators will be made responsible for supply for food, essentials etc to residences or roads sealed off in each ward," Ashoka said.
The revenue minister said that Rs 380 crore has been spent on COVID-19 management from the State Disaster Relief Fund. Of the Rs 742 crores available under SDRF following the Union government's release of funds, District Commissioners have been given Rs 232 crore, health department has received Rs 70 crore, BBMP has been given Rs 50 crore, the home department has been given Rs 12 crore, Railways has been given Rs 13 crore and BMTC has been given Rs 2.89 crore.
"A total of Rs 380 crore has been spent by the revenue department so far. We have another Rs 362 crore available. We will use that too for COVID-19 management," Ashoka said.