K’taka announces new testing regime to check for community transmission

Delivery personnel, street vendors, people at billing counters of supermarkets, are among the people who will be tested.
K’taka announces new testing regime to check for community transmission
K’taka announces new testing regime to check for community transmission
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Karnataka’s Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar announced on Tuesday that individual testing numbers in the state will be increased to at least 15,000 samples per day.

The announcement came among a slew of key changes to Karnataka’s strategy to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. 

“We are going to increase the number of tests up to a minimum of 15,000 to 25,000 tests everyday. There are 41 government labs and 31 private labs and we will be doing individual testing,” the Minister said, following a meeting with senior officials and experts studying steps being taken by other states in India.

Testing numbers in Karnataka dropped to its lowest level in the past month on Monday, when the state tested just 5,362 samples. By comparison, the state tested over 10,000 samples on Saturday. 

Who will be tested?

Along with interstate travellers, officials in railway stations, police stations, and health workers will be tested as per the new testing policy.

Delivery personnel, including those who deliver food, postal mail and other material for e-commerce websites will be tested. Street vendors, people working at billing counters of supermarkets, and others who come in contact with a large number of people will be tested. 

Pourakarmikas (sanitation workers) and those residing in slums will be tested along with the elderly (people over the age of 50), people with ILI (influenza like illness) and SARI (severe acute respiratory infection) symptoms and those with comorbidities.

Randomised testing will be conducted on people living in former containment zones that are currently inactive. 

“The intention behind this is to check if it (the virus) has spread anywhere in the community and whether it has resurfaced in old containment zones,” Minister Sudhakar said. 

The Minister added that at least 20,000 beds will be readied at government COVID Care Centres (CCC) in Bengaluru by the end of the month. Similarly, an increased number of beds will be readied across the state. “As the cases are increasing in the last two weeks, COVID Care Centres will be established to monitor and treat infected persons who are asymptomatic,” Minister Sudhakar assured. 

Medical Education Minister Sudhakar K

Private hospitals with capability to treat COVID-19 patients

In another key policy change, the Medical Education Minister stated that private hospitals will be asked to keep COVID-19 patients in their facilities as long as they are equipped to do so. 

“Private hospitals should act with utmost responsibility and proactively participate in this fight against COVID-19. Strict action will be taken against hospitals which refuse to treat COVID patients despite having capability. Detailed guidelines will soon be released regarding the number of beds, ICUs and ventilators to be reserved for treatment of COVID cases,” Sudhakar added. 

Until now, designated government-run hospitals were treating COVID-19 patients in the state. For instance, the Victoria Hospital in Bengaluru was considered the designated hospital to treat COVID-19 patients. 

The state government is creating an app to help people find information about the number of hospitals, ICU facilities, ventilators and beds in their area. 

The number of coronavirus cases in Karnataka rose to 7,530 on Tuesday after 317 cases were reported. 

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