Karnataka to set up children’s hospitals ahead of third wave

Dedicated hospitals would soon be set up in all Karnataka districts for treating children likely to be infected during the coronavirus pandemic’s third wave, state Revenue Minister R. Ashoka said on Thursday.

“As health experts warn of children also getting infected by coronavirus during its third wave later this year, the state government has decided to set up a children’s hospital in each district for treating them,” he said, as per a statement.

Funds have been allotted funds to all 31 districts for converting community centres into children’s hospitals.

Noting that in the pandemic’s second wave, many people in the 20-40 years age group have been contracting the virus and had to be hospitalised, Ashoka said that the state Health Department has also ramped up bed capacity in all hospitals to treat Covid patients, due to the surge.

“We have 1,970 oxygenated beds, 1,445 intensive care units (ICUs) and 2,059 ventilators for treating Covid patients in hospitals across the state. We are also upgrading health facilities to brace up for the pandemic’s third wave, which is expected to emerge over the next 6-8 months,” he said.

The state government has also set up 32 oxygen units across the state to increase its supply to hospitals for treating the growing number of Covid patients.

“The state has 1,015 tonnes of liquid medical oxygen daily to meet its demand in hospitals,” he said.

On complaints that testing has reduced of late in the state, the minister said one of the reasons was due to extended lockdown since April 27, which has restricted the movement of people.

“Mass testing was conducted daily even in public places, including bus stands and railway stations in addition to all designated hospitals across the state before the extended lockdown was enforced in late April,” he said.

Taking serious view of ambulance drivers refusing to carry Covid patients to hospitals for treatment and bodies of Covid victims for the last rites, Ashoka said licence of those who fail to attend to calls would be suspended for 3 years.