At least seven districts in Karnataka have run out of ICU beds, in a replay of the Covid script that is unfolding in the state capital and worst-hit Bengaluru, according to the Critical Care Support Unit (CCSU).
The CCSU — comprising intensive care experts — does tele-ICU rounds every morning in district hospitals to take stock of oxygen, essential Covid drugs, number of ICU beds and ventilators available with the hospitals.
As per the CCSU, ICU beds are full in Mysuru's KR Hospital and district hospital, two major government hospitals in the city. Dharwad, Mandya, Hassan and Tumakuru have no availability of critical care beds, Uttara Kannada district has three ICU beds available and Ballari's VIMS just two.
The May 6 report by the CCSU signals the alarm. "We are anticipating ICU beds and ventilator crises in the coming week in other districts of Karnataka as well," the report states.
Chikkaballapur (Health Minister K Sudhakar's home turf), Ballari district hospital, Mandya, Tumakuru, Chamarajanagar and Udupi's Kundapura have shortage of oxygen beds, while five districts require 20 to 100 ventilators. If the availability of critical care beds is not ramped up quickly, the state could be staring at a major crisis as the second wave of the pandemic is yet to peak.
"We've put seven districts on red alert as ICUs are full. In the next one week, these districts won't have any ICU beds. This has been communicated to all the health authorities. This is quite alarming. These districts might be the next Bengaluru," a source told DH.
Hubballi-Dharwad has the highest number of ICU beds at 109 compared to other districts but all of them are occupied.
"Immediate scaling up of ICU beds has to happen across the districts," the source said. "Key district hospitals in Tumakuru, Hubballi and Chamarajanagar and Mandya treat highest number of patients than others."
ICU beds in Ballari, Mysuru, and Kundapura are full. Even ventilators need to be scaled up. Chikkamagalur and Karwar are a little better, said the source.
Dr CN Manjunath, state nodal officer for Covid-19 testing, said the government has decided to ramp up rapid antigen tests as the "positivity rate is high".
"It is very relevant now. Today, orders are being placed for 30 lakh test kits. Total tests per day have to be increased to 1.8 lakh. Districts have to increase tests by 50% of what they used to do earlier," he said.
Districts with requirement of ventilators:
1. Trauma Care Centre, Ballari - 20 ventilators (PM Care- CV 200 Model), are having problem with the flow sensor/ adaptor
2. District Hospital, Ballari - requirement of 25 ventilators
3. KIMS Hubballi (Dharwad) - 70 ventilators required
4. Hassan - 10 ventilators required
5. Mandya - 100 ventilators required