Karnataka, and particularly its capital city Bengaluru, has been reporting a surge in COVID-19 cases over the past few weeks, even as the third phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive for all those aged above 45 years has begun. On March 31, Bengaluru reported 2,928 new cases, despite the state government and civic bodies ramping up vigilance against the coronavirus. If you live in Bengaluru and have come into contact with a COVID-19 patient or are experiencing any symptoms, here’s what to do next.
If you experience any symptoms of COVID-19, you have two options when it comes to tests — choosing private or public healthcare. The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) provides free testing at primary healthcare centres (PHCs) and also has a few mobile testing units that travel through the wards.
If COVID-19 cases are identified in your apartment building, officials with the BBMP’s COVID Task Force will perform door-to-door RT-PCR tests for all residents.
To find the closest testing centre, you can avail the BBMP’s zonal helplines or call the common helpline at +91-11-23978046. However, you can also opt for testing at private hospitals and diagnostic laboratories.
At the time of testing, you will be required to give details such as your name and phone number. If you test positive, you will receive a call from BBMP officials (even if you were tested at a private centre). You can also access your result later via the AarogyaSetu app. The BBMP then assigns a doctor from the PHCs, whom you can contact for medical advice and to clear doubts. It is advised to get a second medical opinion as well. The BBMP also sends over a basic kit with medicines and supplements such as paracetamol, vitamin C, B12, zinc etc, along with instructions on dosage.
However, you can also opt to decline this service, and contact private doctors instead.
If you are asymptomatic or show mild symptoms, you can opt for home isolation.But if the conditions at your home are not conducive for isolation due to problems like space, number of people etc, you can choose hospital isolation. However, if you have comorbidities or show severe symptoms, it is best to opt for hospital isolation, in order to have access to 24/7 medical help. The doctor assigned by the BBMP can also help you make the decision. If you choose home quarantine, guidelines such as wearing masks when interacting with others, washing hands and disinfecting surfaces regularly, using a different set of cutlery etc are to be followed. A BBMP health worker will come to your home to perform RT-PCR tests on day zero, seven and 14.
If you do not opt for the BBMP-assigned doctor’s service, there are private centres that offer packages for COVID-19 patients, which take care of doctors’ and nurse services, medication etc.
During home quarantine, if your health takes a turn, the civic body offers a free ambulance service to the nearest COVID-19 hospital, which you can avail by contacting the COVID-19 helpline.
Contact tracing is an essential step in curbing the spread of the coronavirus. If you have COVID-19 and there is a delay in communicating the same to your contacts, they may unknowingly spread the virus further. Contact tracing will be carried out soon after testing positive, by BBMP workers. However, in some wards, the COVID-19 patients themselves are made to contact those they recently interacted with.
After 14 days since testing positive for the coronavirus, a health worker with the BBMP will perform another test, after which you are considered as recovered if you test negative. However, it is important to remember that the pandemic is not over yet and steps like wearing masks, sanitising hands etc must be followed.