Bengaluru Buzz: One million cases | Acute vaccine shortage | Triaging patient care … and more

Catch up on news from the city this week, in our roundup

Cases cross one million

On Thursday, the city crossed the one million mark in cumulative COVID-19 infections. About 25% of the cases were reported in the past 13 days alone, while 30% of the total deaths in Bengaluru were between May 1 and 13. The daily positivity rate stands at 27.6 %. Since the beginning of May, there were 2,153 deaths, compared to 1,907 in April. There are 300-plus deaths every day.

However, as per projections, the number of cases will gradually decline by the end of May. Bengaluru Urban’s testing numbers too have declined since April 20. Official data shows that the testing rates fell from an average of 85,829 per day in BBMP limits four weeks ago to an average of 53,114 tests per day in the last seven days.

The daily COVID-19 case numbers also began to reduce from a peak of 26,756 on April 30 to 15,879 on May 11. However, the cases of the infectious double mutant variant B.1.617 have increased by 640% in 15 days in the State, from 20 on April 27 to 148 cases on May 12.

Thousands of COVID-19 sufferers who have symptoms of the disease are testing negative on RT-PCR, but go on to show trademark COVID-19 lung manifestations when subject to CT scans.

Source: The Times of India, Indian Express, Deccan Herald

Acute vaccine shortage

Hospitals and public health centres are turning away people with confirmed prior appointments for vaccinations due to vaccine shortages. Many citizens who booked appointments on the Cowin portal and reached the centres were turned away, included those who were due for the second dose. The Cowin portal, incidentally, doesn’t have an option to reschedule an appointment.

Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta admitted on Wednesday that the civic body had only 40,000 doses of vaccines in stock, which would be exhausted by the end of the day. Since May 1, the government has been allotting vaccines only to the BBMP’s referral hospitals and Urban Primary Health Care Services (UPHCS) while private medical establishments have been directed to directly procure from pharmaceutical companies.

The vaccine stock when distributed to the 198 wards translates to roughly 200 doses per ward, though 400 to 500 doses per day is the requirement. While vaccinations for the 18 to 44 age group has been stopped, the municipal body is prioritising second dose inoculations to those above 45 years.

Hospitals in Bengaluru are facing a shortage of vaccines. Representational image

 Source: Deccan Herald, The Hindu, The New Indian Express

Struggle to triage patient care

Chances of the government extending the lockdown beyond May 24 are high, going by the number of cases and dealth per day in many districts, chiefly Bengaluru. The government also plans to use the 14-day lockdown to rationalise the use of hospital beds, set in place proper triaging of patients, and create ICU beds.

The current demand for beds is said to be 11,500. The gap between demand and supply is steepest in ventilator beds, with only 150 available in the public sector and 400 in private hospitals, and at least 200 new admissions requiring them every day. All big hospitals have been asked to tie up with nearby hotels to create facilities for less serious patients.

Read More: COVID bed nightmare: What the govt committee recommends

A team of 50 doctors from Mumbai will soon come to the city to help the civic body in conducting triaging. They will not only share the workload, but will also train new recruits and staffers in triaging and medical care.

Towards proper diagnosis and streamlining admission of patients to various hospitals, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) on Tuesday notified Covid Care Centres (CCCs), triaging centres and tertiary care medical facilities in all 28 Assembly constituencies to enable walk-in admissions. The centres will examine patients and determine treatment required. Patients can now walk in without any registration, according to the BBMP.

Source: The Times of India, Indian Express, The New Indian Express, Deccan Herald

Govt stops refilling oxygen

Patients needing oxygen at home, non-government organisations and volunteer networks are finding it increasingly difficult to get oxygen cylinders refilled. One of the reasons is a decision taken by the authorities to crack down on people hoarding oxygen and supplying hospitals. Oxygen plants have been told not to fill empty cylinders brought by individuals.

The first Oxygen Express train for Karnataka arrived at the Container Corporation of India Limited (CONCOR), Whitefield, on Tuesday. It carried six cryogenic containers, with 20 tonnes of oxygen each.

About 836 oxygen concentrators were also received by the corporation from various organisations. They have been distributed across the Covid Care Centres (CCC) and maternity hospitals, which have been converted into triaging centres.

The IISc has developed an oxygen concentrator of 10 LPM capacity which is being tested at the Bangalore Medical College. The oxygen output is about 90 per cent and is more efficient than the concentrators made in China, most of which have an output of 40-50%.

Read More: Where do Bengaluru hospitals get their oxygen supply from?

Fairfax Financial Holdings Group, the promoters of the Kempegowda International Airport, has funded the setting up a 150-bed, oxygenated COVID treatment centre at the airport to bolster healthcare infrastructure.

Source: The Hindu, Indian Express, Deccan Herald, Bangalore Mirror

No waiver of ID to avail free food

Representational image. Pic credit: former Mayor Goutham Kumar/Twitter

Despite BBMP Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta saying that no ID was required to avail free food at Indira canteen, staffers at many Indira canteens across the city were noting down details of those taking food packets, along with phone numbers and identity cards. Many were seen turning away poor, famished citizens for not having ID cards and phone numbers. Several citizens and activists criticised the BBMP after Swaraj Abhiyan flagged the issue on Twitter on Wednesday morning.

Source: The New Indian Express, Deccan Herald

SSLC exams postponed

The SSLC (Class 10) exams have been postponed. Students who had opted for the State Board were in a state of suspense and anxiety as the Karnataka government delayed taking a decision on their postponement. Both the central boards announced their postponement well in advance. The SSLC exams were scheduled to be held from June 21 to July 5. Revised dates are to be announced much ahead of the schedule.

Source: Indian Express

[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]

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