Bengaluru, June 17, 2020: On a day when Karnataka tested 7,936 samples for coronavirus, Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar said that the government would increase testing to a minimum of 15,000 samples or a maximum of 25,000 samples a day through 41 government and 31 private laboratories in the state. Karnataka on Tuesday tested only 7,936 samples which was preceded by Monday’s even lesser testing number of 5,362 samples. The state tested a similar number of 5,351 samples last on May 15. Even though the number of COVID testing labs increased on a daily basis to a total of 72 now, the tests did not increase proportionally.
Dr CN Manjunath, nodal officer for lab testing in the state’s COVID-19 task force said, "The tests were less in the last couple of days because initially the large influx of migrants from other states forced us to draw an increased number of samples.Now, the backlog has reduced, hence the numbers are low, henceforth, we will concentrate on random testing."
But the fact is even before the migrants’ influx, the testing rates hovered around 10,000 in the state. The state has in the past few days received accolades for performing better in terms of tracing, testing and treating when compared to states with other metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.
"Due to an increase in cases in the past two weeks, the Government is trying to scale up testing to 15,000 to 25,000 samples per day. People in crowded areas, Pourakarmikas, street vendors, healthcare workers, police and all other people who are in the frontline will be tested extensively. It has also been decided to mandatorily test all those who have symptoms of ILI and SARI," Sudhakar said.
"COVID Care Centres will be established in order to facilitate monitoring of asymptomatic cases. An expert committee has been formed to advise on the type of treatment and care required for cases in different stages. BBMP Commissioner has been directed to ensure that 20,000 beds are available in Covid Care Centres in Bengaluru," Sudhakar added. This will reduce the burden on hospitals and ensure that beds are available for those who need it, he said.
"Private hospitals should act with utmost responsibility and proactively participate in this fight against COVID-19. Strict action will be taken against hospitals which refuse to treat COVID patients despite having capability. Detailed guidelines will soon be released regarding the number of beds, ICUs and ventilators to be reserved for treatment of COVID cases," the minister said.