Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar, during an interview with the The New Sunday Express, said that Karnataka has handled the COVID-19 crisis well and has fared better than many other states in the country. The state government has also discussed all issues threadbare to tackle the situation once the Lockdown 5.0 begins on Monday, he said.
How has Karnataka fared compared to other states in fighting COVID-19?
We have fared exceptionally well. We are conducting 4,124 tests per million, which is among the highest in the country. Our positivity rate at 1 per cent is better than Kerala’s 2 per cent, which means we are finding one positive case for every 100 tests conducted. Our average daily growth is 5.8 per cent, while the national average is 10.2 per cent. The state’s mortality rate is 1.72 per cent and it is 5 per cent for the country.
You have plans to set up 100 testing centres soon. Should we have reached this figure much earlier?
We are steadily ramping up our testing capacity, and on Friday, we tested 15,269 samples on a single day. So far, we have conducted over 2.75 lakh tests across 60 labs in the state. In February, we started with two labs, by March-end we had eight, and in April we increased it to 23. We reached our target of 60 labs well before the May 31 deadline.
Everyone wants to be tested and people are anxious. When can we test all?
I understand the anxiety of the people. Our priority is to trace and test suspected people, who are primary and secondary contacts of infected patients. We are conducting mass testing in containment zones, besides taking several measures to increase testing.
How are you preparing for the scenario after Lockdown 4.0?
Much as we desire, corona is not going away soon. We understand this reality and have plans to tackle the situation when Lockdown 5.0 begins on Monday. We have discussed all issues threadbare at the Covid
task force committee.
There are thousands of travellers coming in from across t h e country and abroad. How are you prepared?
n the last 2-3 weeks, around 2.5 lakh people entered Karnataka and about 1.5 lakh are under institutional quarantine. With the influx, increasing home quarantine is the only option and people should act more responsibly.
How do you use technology to fight COVID-19 better?
We have leveraged technology extensively. We launched online training with the SOP for doctors and healthcare professionals. This helped train over 1.6 lakh corona warriors in record time. The special tele- ICU patients’ monitoring task force ensured that specialist doctors can monitor cases, but are themselves not exposed to risk.
Technologies in the COVID-19 war room have enabled the integration of health department with police, hospitals, surveillance teams, Asha workers and BWSSB. Screens in the war room have been used for mapping of cases, using Geographical Information System.