The Karnataka government on Wednesday urged the Union government to rush 1,500 tonnes of medical oxygen on a daily basis to the state for treating COVID-19 patients in state-run and private hospitals. "Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has written to the Centre to supply 1,500 tonne of medical oxygen daily to overcome its shortage in our hospitals where demand for the gas has been rising due to surge in COVID-19 cases," state Health Minister K Sudhakar told reporters in Bengaluru.
Sudhakar said that even though 300 tonnes of oxygen has been allotted to the state, the daily need for liquid oxygen supply had doubled due to the surge in cases. "We need about 600 tonnes of oxygen daily this month and 1,500 tonne in May as COVID-19 cases are expected to peak in the coming weeks," he said.
The Karnataka government also set up a control room to monitor the supply of oxygen cylinders and the antiviral drug Remdesivir to hospitals in the state that are treating COVID-19 patients. The state drug controller office has deputed 26 officials to operate the control room and a call centre with a mobile number (89517-55722) for the supply of oxygen and Remdesivir to hospitals.
The drug controller's office has also deputed its staff to 17 medical oxygen producing units in the state for supervising their distribution. "A 6 kilo litre medical oxygen plant has been set up at Chamarajanagar district hospital to supply the gas to COVID-19 patients under treatment in its intensive care unit (ICU)," said Sudhakar.
The state government has also directed private firms making industrial oxygen to set up additional plants to produce medical oxygen. The developments come just days after Sudhakar claimed that there was surplus oxygen production in the state. He said that the issue was down to distribution and the lack of storage facilities in smaller hospitals which needed to refill oxygen cylinders thrice a day.
JSW Steel has also agreed to supply 400 tonnes of liquid oxygen per day to hospitals in Karnataka to treat COVID-19 patients, Minister Murugesh Nirani said on Wednesday. Social media was flooded with requests for liquid oxygen and Remdesivir on Wednesday as the COVID-19 crisis in Karnataka deepened with over 23,000 cases recorded in the state.
TNM earlier reported on Saturday about BIG Hospital in Jayanagar in Bengaluru shifting out patients after running out of liquid oxygen supply.