Helplines in place, K'taka prepares to deal coronavirus

Karnataka prepares to tackle coronavirus with isolation wards, helplines in place

Citizens undergoing tests at the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases on Wednesday. DH Photo/Janardhan B K

Following the reporting of India’s first n-CoV (novel Coronavirus) case, Karnataka’s chief secretary held a meeting on Thursday to review the preparedness to tackle the virus.

The meeting was attended by the additional chief secretary (Health); health commissioner; mission director, national health mission, Karnataka; and health department officials.

Till Thursday, 21 travellers were under observation; 10 suspected patients are isolated at the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases (RGICD) and 11 were quarantined at their own houses. Of the 13 samples sent for testing, four tested negative for coronavirus.

RGICD and Wenlock Hospital, Mangaluru, have been identified for isolation and treatment of nCoV with 15 and 10 beds, respectively.

Besides reserving five beds each at the Jayanagar General Hospital and Epidemic Diseases Hospital, isolation wards with five beds each have been identified at all district hospitals across the state.

In addition, 10 private hospitals have been identified to isolate suspected cases in Bengaluru.

Dr Prakash Kumar, deputy director for communicable diseases with the department of health and family welfare, said Manipal Hospital has set up an isolation ward, too. “We’re awaiting the confirmation (of setting up similar wards) from nine other hospitals,” he added.

The National Institute of Virology, Bengaluru, and Viral Research and Diagnostic Laboratory, Bangalore Medical College & Research Institute, will be roped in for the testing of n-CoV over the next two days.

The department-run 104-Arogya Sahayavani helpline will take all coronavirus-related calls, while three medical officers and six paramedical staff have been deputed to the Airport Health Organisation at the Kempegowda International Airport to support surveillance
activities.

Private hospitals’ take

Dr Anoop Amarnath, chief of medical services, Manipal Hospitals, said: “We’ve set up an isolation ward at Manipal Hospital after talks with the district surveillance officer as per the WHO guidelines.”

Joseph Pasangha, COO, Narayana Health, said anyone walking into the ER (emergency room) with symptoms of the coronavirus and a history of visiting China and nearby regions will be directed to RGICD. “As a tertiary care hospital, we do have isolation wards with negative pressure and have adequate stock of N95 masks,” Pasangha added.

A spokesperson for Fortis Hospital said they have two negative pressure rooms in their Bannerghatta branch and, unless the patient is critical, he/she will be moved to RGICD.