K'taka health infrastructure ramped up significantly to fight COVID-19: Health Minister

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Bengaluru, May 23 (PTI) Defending the Karnataka government over its handling of the COVID-19 crisis, health minister K Sudhakar on Sunday said health infrastructure in the state has been ramped up significantly to control the pandemic, despite the revenue crunch.

Capacity to test 1.5-2 lakh samples per day, availability of 1,015 Metric Tonnes of oxygen and more than 22,000 oxygen beds, supply of Remdesivir as per requirement are among various measures initiated by the state government, the Minister's office said in a release.

The Departments of Health and Family Welfare and Medical Education have worked in synergy towards improving health infrastructure in Karnataka, it said, claiming that this has helped the state mitigate the impact of the second wave and provide timely treatment to the patients.

'Significant transformation in health infrastructure has been achieved during this pandemic.

Despite the revenue crunch, all available resources have been utilized to enhance health infrastructure.

This will help in creating 'Arogya Karnataka' in the coming days,' Sudhakar was quoted as saying.

The minister's statement comes amid growing criticism of the government on its handling of the COVID crisis, especially during the second wave, from several quarters, including the opposition parties, pointing at issues relating to lack of beds, oxygen, crucial drugs and also vaccination,among others.

Towards the end of February, about 60,000-70,000 cases were being tested per day, the release said, adding this number has been ramped up to more than 1,00,000 daily.

So far, 2.85 crore samples have been tested in the state, out of which 2.38 crore were the RT-PCR method.

It pointed out that more than 80 per cent of the tests in Karnataka are RT-PCR tests, which was above the 70 per cent suggested by the Centre to states.

As many as 241 (Government: 91; Private: 150) RT-PCR labs are functional in Karnataka and swab collection centres have been set up at all levels or for every 50,000 population.

Over the past one year, the health department has ramped oxygenated beds from 1,970 to 22,001 , ICU beds from 444 to 701 and beds with ventilators from 610 to 1,548.

Also 1,248 HFNC (High-flow Nasal Cannula) beds have been set up, it said, adding facilities have been extended upto Taluk and CHC levels.

The Department of Medical Education in March 2020 had only 4700 oxygenated beds, 341 ventilators, 15 HFNO (high-flow nasal oxygen) and 151 kiloliters capacity of Liquid Medical Oxygen.

An 4705 oxygenated beds, 305 ventilators, 555 HFNC, 73 KL of LMO have been created, he said.

Claiming that Karnataka has sufficient medical oxygen supply to treat Covid patients, Sudhakar said the state's oxygen production capacity is 815 Metric Tonnes and the Centre has allocated 1015 MT.

Regarding vaccination, it said the government was working on a comprehensive plan to ensure that every citizen in the state gets the shots by November-December.

As on May 22, 1,20,14,015 doses have been administered in the state.

In addition to 1,13,26,340 doses supplied by the centre, the state has already received 14,94,170 doses following orders placed by it, the statement said. PTI KSU APR ADMINISTRATOR APR ADMINISTRATOR

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