Karnataka Health Minister K. Sudhakar on Thursday said that the state government now wants private hospitals to allot 80 per cent of beds including their critical care facility as the state is facing severe health crisis.
In a hurriedly convened press meet, early morning on Thursday prior to leaving to Mysuru, Sudhakar said that the private hospitals must consider this as a health emergency and must allot 80 per cent of their total capacity, be it general wards, rooms, ventilators, high dependency units (HDUs) critical care unit (CCU), intensive therapy unit (ITU) and intensive care units (ICU).
“We are staring at a grim scenario. We need to fight this out together. The government has decided to keep all small hospitals which are less than 30 bed capacity to handle non-covid patients, while all major hospitals above 30 bed capacity, will be converted into Covid care hospitals,” he said.
He added that major hospitals will be allowed to treat critical care patients especially dialysis and maternity care, besides emergency. “Apart from these three services, now all major hospitals will have to allocate 80 per cent of their total capacity including critical care infrastructure to the government instead of 50 per cent as it was decided earlier,” the minister explained.
On shortage of Oxygen, the health minister added that the government has estimated that in the next one month, it may require 1,500 metric tonnes of oxygen.
“In this regard, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa has written to Union Minister for Railways, Commerce and Industries Piyush Goyal,” he said.
He also said that the government had held meetings with the major oxygen producers in the state and among the producers JSW Steel is the largest one, which has already come onboard to support the supply of more oxygen.
Answering to a question on supply of antiviral drug Remedesivir, he said that the state has ordered 70,000 vials of Remdesivir injections of which 20,000 had arrived while the remaining would be supplied in the coming days.
To a question as to why the state did not stock enough oxygen beforehand, the Minister said when the cases had reduced, there was no such demand and hence there was no point in storing it.
The minister’s statement came as the demand for oxygen and Remdesivir injection grew in view of the alarming rise in Covid cases, leading to their black marketing as well.
The grim situation could be assessed from the fact that on Wednesday alone, the state reported 23,558 fresh Covid cases and 116 deaths while the active cases in the state have gone up to 1.76 lakh. The active cases comprised 904 patients in the ICU.