BENGALURU: Compared to the number of active COVID-19 cases in Karnataka, which has witnessed a surge since the end of December, the rate of hospitalisation and admission in ICUs is fairly low. As per data from the Health department on January 10, 117 COVID-19 patients are in ICUs -- amounting to just 0.19 per cent of the 60,148 active cases reported on this date.
The patients are spread out across districts: 77 in Bengaluru, one patient each in Chikkaballapura, Chikkamagaluru, Dharwad and Kodagu, 15 patients in Dakshina Kannada, two patients each in Mandya and Mysuru, three patients in Tumakuru, nine patients in Udupi and five patients in Uttara Kannada.
Doctors say the COVID-19 patients are in ICUs not due to the infection but for other reasons. "Trauma patients who have been in road traffic accidents, patients with pus in the gallbladder along with septic shock, patients with clot in the brain are admitted due to these conditions, and have then tested positive. They are not in the ICU due to need for oxygen, caused by COVID-19 symptoms," said Dr Pradeep Rangappa, consultant, Intensive Care Unit, Manipal Hospitals, who is part of the state’s tele-ICU team monitoring high-risk Covid-19 cases across Karnataka.
However, he has observed a surge in general ward admission, prompted by anxiety among people.
Data shared by the war room from January 9, showed that out of 49,602 active COVID-19 cases, 95.64 per cent of the patients (47,440) are in home isolation and only 4.35 per cent of the patients (2,162) are hospitalised. The patients in hospitals include 1,912 without oxygen support, 178 with oxygen support, 53 in ICU beds and 19 dependent on a ventilator.
There are hardly a few COVID-19 patients in the ICU and they are doing well, said Dr Ravindra Mehta, Senior Consultant and HoD, Pulmonology and Interventional Pulmonology, Apollo Speciality Hospital, who also noticed this trend.
"Patients are in the ICU as they come in with other comorbidities such as high heart rate, severe lung disease, stroke, trauma, infected leg, and COVID-19 is only incidental. Only one person had severe infection and required oxygen, non-invasive ventilation and high-flow nasal cannula. All the others need less than two litres of oxygen," said Dr Mehta, adding that this situation is unlike the second wave, when ICUs were full with severely ill patients.
Positivity rate rising, but mortality dipping
Unlike in the first two waves of the pandemic in Karnataka, the third wave with Omicron emerging as the dominant variant, shows positivity rate moving upwards and mortality rate falling.
The positivity rate, which fell from upwards of 8 per cent in the second wave to 5.28 per cent, went up for the first time in six months on January 9 to 5.29 per cent, and again to 5.30 per cent on Tuesday. On the other hand, the mortality rate, which was 1.27 per cent on January 1 when the third wave kicked in, dropped to 1.26 per cent on January 6, and to 1.24 per cent on Tuesday.