BENGALURU: Amid the pandemic’s second wave and reported shortage of beds and drugs, Karnataka on Sunday set up a war room to ensure supply of medical oxygen to hospitals for treating Covid patients, especially in Bengaluru.
“A dedicated war room has been set up at the office of the state Drug Controller here to facilitate availability of medical oxygen in both state-run and private hospitals,” Health Minister K. Sudhakar told reporters here.
The war room comes up following complaints of oxygen shortage in hospitals in the capital, which recorded 11,404 new cases on Saturday and 87,724 active cases.
Karnataka registered a whopping 17,489 positive cases on Friday, taking the state’s Covid tally to 11,41,998, including 1,19,160 active cases.
Out of 80 deaths, 43 were from Bengaluru on Saturday, taking the state’s toll to 13,270 and the city’s toll to 5,063.
Of the 589 Covid patients in ICUs, 124 are in Bengaluru hospitals, followed by 109 in Kalaburagi, 45 in Kolar, 40 in Mysuru, 29 in Dharwad, 24 in Bidar and 23 each in Davangere and Hassan.
“We will supply jumbo cylinders to private hospitals, which do not have liquid oxygen tanks, from state-run hospitals to overcome the shortage and meet the demand,” said Sudhakar, a medical doctor by profession.
Though about 800 tonnes of oxygen is produced by four bottling plants across the state, demand for the gas has been exceeding supply due to surge in cases and despite the Centre rushing 300 tonnes to the state recently.
“We have urged the Centre to supply 7,500 jumbo oxygen cylinders to meet the demand in the state, as cases continue to spike daily,” said Sudhakar.
The war room has been set up a day after Private Hospitals and Nursing Home Association (Phana) wrote to Sudhakar on the acute shortage of oxygen in their hospitals and nursing homes to treat Covid patients.
“Many private hospitals, which have been ordered to reserve 50 per cent of their beds for Covid patients are facing oxygen shortage and if the situation persists, they will be out of stock soon,” said Prakriya Hospital chief executive Srinivas Chirukuri in a statement here.
As more patients are reporting to hospitals with low saturation, there is a sudden increase for oxygen supply.
“As the number of patients infected with coronavirus rises, so will the need for ICU beds. There is scarcity of ICU beds and ICU resources like oxygen and ICU trained nurses,” Rainbow Children’s Hospital ‘s neonatologist and pediatrician M.S. Sreedhara said.