BENGALURU: The spike in Covid-19 positive cases over the last few days has become a cause for concern for Karnataka which is preparing to exit the lockdown and restart all economic activities. While medical experts indicate that the trend is likely to continue till June-end, government authorities assert that they are prepared to handle the surge. In the last 11 days, the state reported over 1,200 Covid- 19 cases, which is a big jump compared to the first 1,000 cases which were reported over 68 days between March 8 and May 15. Nearly 80 per cent of those who tested positive in recent days are those who returned from high Covid-19-prevalence states like Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan. They are among 1.09 lakh people in institutional quarantine in different parts of the state.
Covid spike won’t impact economic revival: Minister
“It is a cause for concern for the government, but we are well prepared to handle it,” said Primary and Secondary Education Minister S Suresh Kumar, who is also the State Government’s spokesperson on Covid-19 matters. “We are sending daily reports to the Centre about the situation as 80 per cent of the new cases are those returning from other states,” he pointed out. For now, the increase in cases will not have any impact on the government’s strategy to push for economic revival even as it takes measures to fight the pandemic. “It will not hinder measures to revive economy as most of these cases are those coming from other states and not the local spread,” said Suresh Kumar.
A senior official in CM’s office concurred with the minister’s views. “Both have to be done simultaneously and that is the government’s focus now,” the official said. In fact, the state had anticipated an increase in numbers and is ready with 28,686 beds in hospitals to treat Covid-19 patients. Currently, the number of active cases in the state is 1,489 and only 5.1 % of the beds are occupied. Dr C N Manjunath, Director of Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and Research, Bengaluru, and nodal officer for Covid-19 testing, says although the numbers are increasing, the rate of prevalence continues to be just around 1%. The state has conducted over 2.25 lakh tests so far.
“Numbers are increasing by 100-200 every day and, if it can be maintained in the same range for the next 15 days, that is a reasonable achievement,” he said, adding that in the next 15 days, the state may add another 2,000 cases and the trend may continue till June-end. Most of those who tested positive in the state have only mild symptoms and the recovery rate is high. Eighteen patients are in Intensive Care Units at designated hospitals, but none were on ventilator support as on Tuesday.
Sources said if the numbers increase beyond the available capacity at the hospitals, the government may consider treating patients with mild symptoms at home with monitoring by doctors. “We are unlikely to have such a situation,” sources added. “Though there is an increase in the numbers, there is no need to panic as the government has taken enough precautions. All those coming from other states are in quarantine and they are not allowed to mix with people before they are tested,” Dr C Nagaraja, Director, Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases (RGICD), Bengaluru, told TNIE.
How K’taka is faring
In institutional quarantine:
Home quarantine: 10,000
First case: March 8
500 mark crossed: April 24
1,000 mark crossed: May 15
2,000 mark: May 24