Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar on Thursday announced that post-COVID-19 care and rehabilitation centres will soon be set up in state-run hospitals in the 30 districts across the state. "Post-COVID-19 care centres and rehabilitation centres will be set up in each district hospital across the state to check the condition of recovered patients," Sudhakar told reporters here.
The technical advisory committee members and medical experts have urged the state government to take care of the infected people even after they are cured and discharged from the designated hospitals.
What happens to patients post-COVID-19?
Experts say that people who have recovered from COVID-19 could be beset with fatigue, muscle pain and loss of appetite and smell, among other serious health issues. This is particularly seen among patients with known comorbidities, as COVID-19 is known to attack the heart, lungs and kidneys.
In Bengaluru, care and rehabilitation centres will be first set up at the state-run Bowring, Victoria and KC General hospitals. Since March, Victoria Hospital has been dedicated for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. The hospital is currently carrying out a survey of the condition of COVID-19 patients who have recovered.
"We are in the process of calling up over 6,500 people who have received treatment in our hospital. We have covered around 2,500 people so far and we are preparing a report on the trends we are observing. So far, we have observed fatigue, breathlessness and among younger people, we are observing weight loss," Dr. Jayanthi, dean and director of Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI) said. Victoria Hospital will soon have a COVID-19 rehabilitation clinic, Dr. Jayanthi added.
According to a statement from the Health Minister, health experts have also indicated that 5% of the treated patients may contract the virus even after recovery. "Although the intensity of the infection will be less in those who had the virus earlier, those without symptoms during the first time may have them the second time," asserted Sudhakar, who is a medical doctor himself.
Noting that some people are taking pain killers and are staying at home even if they have symptoms of other diseases, Sudhakar said, "Those who have dental problems are hesitating to visit dentists. State-run hospitals have separate treatment facilities for other diseases. People should not be afraid to visit hospitals in such conditions."
The state health department has also commissioned a study on re-infection in recovered patients across the state. Observing that the infection and mortality rates have reduced in the state after a spike, Sudhakar said that strict measures have been taken to control the situation ahead of Diwali and the winter season. "Vigil is being kept on inter-state and overseas passengers, while ILI and SARI cases are being traced and tested to control the spread of the virus," added the minister.
The Karnataka government also announced a ban on crackers ahead of Deepavali on Friday, citing health concerns over COVID-19 among the reasons for the decision.