In the midst of a second wave, the daily Covid positive cases in Bengaluru are touching record high numbers. The number of cases were 14,738 on Thursday alone.
Hospitals and health care centers are getting overwhelmed. Stories of people struggling to get hospital beds are rising. Social media, especially micro-blogging sites like Twitter are seeing an increasing number of posts from individuals seeking help for a hospital bed.
This explainer provides information on testing, when to hospitalise and how to find hospital beds.
When to test for Covid
Covid Test can be done at the nearest PHC, private clinic or by calling a diagnostic lab for home visit.
- If you exhibit Covid symptoms: cough, fever, shortness of breath, sore throat, congestion, headaches, body aches, sudden loss of smell and taste, gastric disorders etc.
- If you are a primary contact of a Covid-positive person.
In addition to a Covid Test, consult a doctor (tele-consult if possible) for a clinical diagnosis.
Note: A contact is a person who is likely to acquire infection from a positive case:
- Anyone exposed to a symptomatic Covid case, 2 days before to 14 days after the onset of symptoms.
- If exposed to an asymptomatic case, 2 days before to 14 days after the test date.
Once a person tests positive, the rest of the members in the household and those they were in close contact with, are considered Primary Contacts and have to maintain quarantine. If a primary / high-risk contact is asymptomatic, they have to be tested twice — once immediately (Day 0) and after a week (Day 7) after high-risk exposure to a Covid Positive case. If test results are negative, this person must be in a self-reporting period for another 7 days.
When to head to the hospital
While it cannot be assumed that those seeking hospital admission may not necessarily need it, it is also true that most positive cases can be treated at home. But the question is: when does one head to the hospital?
Essentials: handy medical kit, including a pulse oximeter, thermometer, paracetamol. Good to have a Blood Pressure Monitor and Glucose Monitor.
WHO‘s guide refers to three levels of Covid-positive symptoms.
Home care situation
- Asymptomatic, without any clinical symptoms and if the chest scan is normal.
- Low to moderate Symptoms – mild fever, fatigue, dry cough tiredness, aches and pains, sore throat, diarrhoea, conjunctivitis, headache, loss of taste or smell a rash on skin, or discolouration of fingers or toes.
If symptoms are not present or are mild, the patient can remain in home isolation under a physician’s care. The patient has to be in a room with an attached bathroom with the door closed, for a period of 10 days.
- Severe Symptoms – Shortness of breath, loss of appetite, confusion, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, high temperature.
Hospitalisation is required for severe symptoms — frequent fever, cough, Chest CT scan showing lesions. Keep checking Blood oxygen saturation levels (SpO2) with a pulse oximeter – SpO2 level below 90% needs urgent treatment.
How to get a bed allocated
It is necessary to make inquiries regarding the facilities and availability at a particular hospital before taking sick patients there.
Hospitals are prioritising and managing their capacity in the best possible way, given the challenging times. “Immunocompromised and those vulnerable with comorbidities having significant changes in lungs, breathlessness, saturation coming down would require hospitalisation,” says Dr Bhavana Badrinarayan, AGM Marketing, Manipal hospitals, advising “people who are stable or have asymptomatic/ mild symptoms should be able to manage at home with remote monitoring system.”
BBMP’s site Hospital Bed Status – bbmpgov.com/chbms has updated details of bed availability in government hospitals, medical colleges, Covid Care Centres (CCC), and private hospitals. While there have been instances of this data not being up to date affecting patients, BBMP has said it will ensure problems don’t occur by stationing Arogya Mitras in every hospital.
In case of an emergency where the Covid-positive patient requires hospitalisation:
- Call 108, for getting admission into Government hospitals or Covid Care Centers and private hospitals (based on availability).
- For private hospitals, you can also reach out directly.
- Keep these details handy before calling an ambulance
- Patient Name:
- Bu/SRF ID:
- Saturation level:
- Presently in:
- Patient attender no:
- Name and phone number of the person requesting bed allotment:
An SRF ID (Specimen Referral Form ID) number is generated in the RT-PCR app when an individual gets a test done. A BU/BR (Bengaluru Urban/Bengaluru Rural) number is then generated (typically in 8-10 hours). In the intervening period if a person requires to be hospitalised the SRF number can be used. Department of Health and Family Welfare has issued a circular to use SRF number to block a bed as a temporary measure.
Entire families affected
As the instances of entire families being affected simultaneously are rising, BBMP has started reaching out to RWAs (especially in apartment complexes) to set up Micro-Covid Care Centres there. Apartments can either utilise their clubhouses or unused/vacant flats to set up these MCCCs. The infrastructure such as beds, oxygen concentrator, pulse oxymeter, thermometer, etc., required for the Micro-CCC will have to be borne by the RWA/MC.
BBMP will deploy a Doctor/Nurse to monitor the patients. BBMP hopes that this exercise will reduce the burden on hospitals. On 16th April, a meeting was convened by BBMP South Zone Commissioner, Thulasi Maddineni, with apartment RWAs to discuss the possibility of setting up these Micro-CCCs.
BBMP has come up with another portal: Public Health Activities, Surveillance and Tracking (PHAST) to integrate all COVID-19 data from different sources, enabling Public Health Centre (PHC) for the first time to access information on positive cases and decide on protocols. The bed availability feature is not available on this portal, though. That is done at the zonal level.
BBMP Zonal Helpline numbers
|7411038024 / 9886496295
|080-23010101 / 080-23010102
|R.R. Nagar Zone
|080-29590057 / 080-29635904 / 080-29635906