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The State Preparing Well For The Third Wave

The Karnataka health minister said that the state government is taking measures to produce and store more medical oxygen in anticipation of the third wave of coronavirus infection. The massive rise in the number of cases in the second wave brought out the flaws in the medical infrastructure and management of the state. The scarcity of oxygen to the Intensive Care Unit led to an increased number of deaths. The number of deaths due to Covid-19 was 12,567 as of March 31 which spiked to 32,291 as per the reports of June 9.

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The minister defended the government by telling that no experts had overseen such an outbreak that would put so many lives would be impacted. He added that the requirement for oxygenated beds increased substantially. The health department accounted for 2,500 oxygenated beds during the first wave which increased to 23,000 beds when the second wave hit. The hospital under the Medical Education Department also added 5,000 oxygenated beds. The minister added that every government hospital from the Taluk level will have oxygen generation units. The government is considering installing oxygen generating plants which can generate up to 1,000-1,200 litres of oxygen per minute. The discussions are being held to increase liquid oxygen storage capacity at every level.

The Minister explained that the oxygen generated from the units at hospitals can cater to patients who are moderately ill but critical patients needing ICU or ventilators will require liquid oxygen. The department is ready to face the third wave with buffer stock of oxygen and all sorts of medicines. 

The state is also making preparations for paediatric facilities and has formed a task force in anticipation of children being the vulnerable demographic as suggested by experts.

He explained that the committee is about to give its final recommendations with regards to increasing the paediatric facilities in the districts. The state has strengthened the paediatric ICUs. Currently there are 10 beds which will be increased to 80-100 beds. Even at Taluk level, the government will make improvements by hiring an adequate number of specialists to treat the public.

Lockdown restrictions are expected to be relaxed from next week. The minister stated that the lockdown will be released in staggered manner. The state has already given relaxing norms for certain sectors of businesses. He said that as per expert’s opinion, if the positivity rate is less that 5% and the cases are less than 5,000, restrictions can be lifted.

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