A 24x7 call centre has been set up in Bengaluru to guide COVID-19 patients isolated at home with mild symptoms across the state, Karnataka Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar said on Tuesday. Currently, 14410 Apthamitra helpline for the same purpose has been functioning since April, 2020.
"The round-the-clock call centre with 1,100 staff will guide and monitor the health of asymptomatic Covid patients isolated at home to recover from the virus. They will counsel them on how to fight the virus," Sudhakar told reporters after chairing a task force committee meeting.
The call centre, set up with the help of global software major Infosys at a cost of Rs 11 crore, has begun functioning with 400 employees and will be ramped up with an additional 700 staff in the coming weeks.
"We are also setting up a telemedicine system at a cost of Rs 20 crore for providing healthcare services, including counselling to people across the state on Covid-related and other diseases," said Sudhakar, a medical doctor by profession.
"Not all COVID-19 patients need to be hospitalised, especially those who are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms of the virus as they can be treated at home or at the Covid Care Centres. Only 10% of active cases are in hospitals across the state," asserted Sudhakar.
Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan has offered to depute about 1,000 techies to operate the call centre. The state government had formed a task force along with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on Saturday to jointly fight the second wave.
With health department officials and the CII's state unit representatives as its members, the task force will help the state on using technology to source medicines, medical equipment and software applications, among other things.
The state health department is also setting up COVID Care Centres with 50-100 beds in each of the 31 districts across the state to admit asymptomatic patients.
"Portable oxygen will be provided to every 20 beds in each centre. We are procuring 40,000 portable medical oxygen units for deploying them in the state-run hospitals and Covid care centres across the state," said the minister.
As over 60% of caseload is from Bengaluru, two CCCs are being set up in each of its 28 Assembly constituencies for admitting patients who are asymptomatic or suffering from mild symptoms of the virus.