Call centre to guide Covid-hit isolated at home in K’taka

A 24×7 call centre has been set up in this tech city to guide Covid patients isolated at home with mild symptoms across the state, Karnataka Health Minister K. Sudhakar said on Tuesday.

“The round-the-clock call centre with 1,100 staff will guide and monitor the health of asymptomatic Covid patients isolated at home to recover from the virus. They will counsel them on how to fight the virus,” Sudhakar told reporters after chairing a task force committee meeting here.

The call centre, set up with the help of global software major Infosys at a cost of Rs 11 crore, has begun functioning with 400 employees and will be ramped up with an additional 700 staff in the coming weeks.

“We are also setting up a telemedicine system at a cost of Rs 20 crore for providing healthcare services, including counselling to people across the state on Covid-related and other diseases,” said Sudhakar, a medical doctor by profession.

“Not all Covid patients need to be hospitalised, especially those who are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms of the virus as they can be treated at home or at the Covid care centres. Only 10 per cent of active cases are in hospitals across the state,” asserted Sudhakar.

Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan has offered to depute about 1,000 techies to operate the call centre.

The state government had formed a task force along with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on Saturday to jointly fight the second wave of Covid-19 in the southern state.

With health department officials and the CII’s state unit representatives as its members, the task force will help the state on using technology to source medicines, medical equipment and software applications, among other things.

According to the state health bulletin, a record 31,830 new Covid cases were reported on Monday, taking the state’s Covid tally to 14,00,775, including 3,01,899 active cases.

As epi-centre of the pandemic in the state, Bengaluru registered 17,550 fresh cases on Monday, taking its Covid tally to 6,87,751, including 2,06,223 active cases.

Of the 180 lives lost to the infection on Monday, 97 were from Bengaluru, taking the state’s death toll to 14,807 and the city’s toll to 6,002 since the pandemic broke out in March a year ago.

Out of the 2,063 patients admitted to the ICUs across the state, 824 are in Bengaluru hospitals, followed by 265 in Kalaburagi, 134 in Tumakur and 122 in Dharwad.

“Positivity rate shot up to 18.17 per cent while case fatality rate stood at 0.56 per cent across the state on Monday,” said the bulletin.

The state health department is setting up Covid care centres with 50-100 beds in each of the 31 districts across the state to admit asymptomatic patients.

“Portable oxygen will be provided to every 20 beds in each centre. We are procuring 40,000 portable medical oxygen units for deploying them in the state-run hospitals and Covid care centres across the state,” said the minister.

As over 60 per cent of caseloads are from Bengaluru, two Covid care centres are being set up in each of its 28 Assembly constituencies for admitting patients who are asymptomatic or suffering from mild symptoms of the virus.

Refuting that the state government is hiding Covid data, Sudhakar said the fight against the pandemic should not be politicised, as the state machineries, including its healthcare workers and frontline warriors, are engaged in treating the patients and controlling the situation.