With a large section of health experts across the country predicting the possibility of a third Covid wave, Karnataka on Thursday decided to set up a high-level task force, headed by famous heart surgeon Dr Devi Prasad Shetty, to prepare for it.
Briefing media about his government’s measures to tackle the Covid outbreak, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa said that action to ramp up hospital infrastructure is still continuing with more ventilators and other equipment getting added regularly.
“Action is also needed to increase the oxygen generation capacity in the state which helps us be prepared for a potential third wave. We are setting up 127 oxygen generation units in the medical college hospitals, district hospitals and taluka hospitals,” he said.
According to him, the state needs to tackle the third wave as many experts are predicting it and “we cannot ignore it”. “Therefore, we have decided to appoint Dr Devi Prasad Shetty as chairman of this task force, who will bring a lot of domain expertise to handle such a big crisis,” he noted.
The Chief Minister said that last year in March, Karnataka was having only 1,970 oxygenated beds, 444 Intensive Care Units (ICUs) beds and 610 ICUs beds with ventilators.
“With the infrastructure having been ramped up, at present, the state is having more than 24,000 oxygenated beds, 1,145 ICU beds, 2,058 ventilated beds and 1,248 beds with HFNCs,” he said and added that apart from these, the number of oxygen beds has been increased from 4,700 to 9,405.
He also observed that the state government was also giving a subsidy of 70:30 ratio to all private medical college hospitals to increase the number of oxygen beds and set up oxygen generation units.
Yediyurappa added that the state government was procuring about 10,000 oxygen cylinders and of this, already received 730 in the last 15-20 days. “Of this, 380 are given by the Union government and 350 by foreign countries. These cylinders have been allocated to the needy districts,” he said.