The Karnataka government has identified 66 private hospitals to function as fever clinics and swab collection centres to cope with the rising COVID-19 cases, an official said on Wednesday.
“The private medical colleges and private hospitals attached with this notification are instructed to work as fever clinics cum swab collection centres,” said a health official.
This decision was taken at a meeting chaired by the Chief Secretary and attended by the private colleges and hospitals.
According to the state health department, fever clinics are the first point of contact in detecting Covid patients, whose symptoms include fever, cold, cough, sore throat, breathlessness and others.
Currently, Karnataka has more than 600 fever clinics and 1,172 swab collection centres while in Bengaluru there are 52 such government managed facilities.
“Many private hospitals and all medical colleges in Bengaluru have the capacity to run as fever clinic cum swab collection centres,” said the official.
Triaging of Influenza Like Illness (ILI) and Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI) cases to identify Covid cases, drawing swabs, using the software application meant for fever clinics and swab collection centres and making the swabs available to transport them to the testing laboratories will be some of their duties.
The transportation of swabs to the designated Covid testing labs will be arranged by the task leader for testing in the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) area.
For triaging, the private medical colleges and hospitals are allowed to charge regular OPD fees while swab collection fees should not exceed Rs 350.
“The test will be conducted at government’s cost,” said the official.
As many as 66 medical facilities have been identified, including St. John’s Medical College, Apollo Hospitals, Fortis Hospitals and others.
The state government has passed the orders invoking the Epidemic Diseases Act.