When and how to find a COVID bed in Bengaluru?

explainer

Hospital beds
Pic: pxfuel.com

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.

Hospitalisation

  • 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:

  1. Call 108, for getting admission into Government hospitals or Covid Care Centers and private hospitals (based on availability).
  2. For private hospitals, you can also reach out directly.
  3. Keep these details handy before calling an ambulance
    • Patient Name:
    • Bu/SRF ID:
    • Age:
    • Symptoms:
    • Saturation level:
    • Requires: 
    • 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.

Government of Karnataka circular on BU number

Entire families affected

Click to view full size image

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 Covid Helpline Number: 1912

For queries and advice, call Apthamitra: 14410

Emergency cases, ambulance, hospital transfers: 108

BBMP portal: Public Health Activities, Surveillance and Tracking-PHAST

BBMP portal: Covid+ Hospital Bed Management Status-CHBMS

BBMP Zonal Helpline numbers

East Zone7411038024 / 9886496295
West Zone 080-68248454
South Zone8431816718
Mahadevapura Zone080-23010101 / 080-23010102
Bommanahalli Zone8884666670
Yelahanka Zone9480685964
R.R. Nagar Zone080-28601050
Dasarahalli Zone080-29590057 / 080-29635904 / 080-29635906

Also Read:

About Sandhya Bhat 7 Articles
Sandhya is a Citizen Anchor at Citizen Matters with a keen interest in public policy. She is also a Joint Secretary and Governing Council Member with Bangalore Apartment Federation and a member of the Koramangala Warriors Group. Occasionally tweets at @Kora_prapancha

15 Comments

  1. How do i find BBMP bed using BR Number? As BBMP helpline says they can only help with BU number. Bangalore Rural people can’t get BBMP bed blocking facility? My uncle need ICU bed due to saturation fluctuation.

  2. They are not updating the hospital list I guess, though the time stamp for the day is updated. the HDU ICU list is not updated, the numbers remain the same.

    They need to list available HDU, ICU, ICU ventilation based on the zone and corresponding hospital names can be listed. Instead of providing all hospital names and corresponding beds.

  3. You call the hospital directly , I did the same when I was positive. They have allocated me a bed in just 2 hrs however you need to self help by finding an ambulance as hospital will not provide.
    Hope it helps

  4. Eye wash by the government and BBMP.
    Nothing works here.
    This website and all helpline numbers are just going to waste your precious time.
    My grandmother is in critical condition and since two days no proper response or info regarding beds is provided.
    Only god should come for our help.

  5. I am unable to see the BBMP bed allocation page. It keeps saying “Account suspended. Contact your hosting provider.”

  6. Vikram hospital, Miller’s road, shows there are bbmp quota available. However the bbmp website doesn’t list the hospital under Pvt. Hospital bed status.
    Request to update for the benefit of all.

  7. Once the sample is collected :
    – A 13 digit SRF ID (Specimen Referral Form ID) number is generated in the RT-PCR app (for both RAT & RT PCR tests), which is sent to the registered mobile number. 
    – Once the lab uploads the results on the ICMR portal, BBMP assigns a BU/BR (Bengaluru Urban/Bengaluru Rural) to all positive cases, which is sent as an SMS to the registered mobile (typically in 8-10 hours), else can be accessed here https://mysamplestatus.xyramsoft.com/#/patient-details

    – In the intervening period if a person requires to be hospitalised the SRF number can be used. The Department of Health and Family Welfare has issued a circular to use SRF numbers to block a bed as a temporary measure.

    • is bu number generated only for positive cases sandhya? the teat results for my domestic support has not come yet but he received a message mentioning srf and bu no .

  8. I have been trying to get a bed at Bannerghatta Fortis hospital for my 81 year old mother, but am being told there is no availability, despite the above link in the article showing there are 6beds available as on today. They are also asking to come through BBMP. Mother had been admitted there and actually entire family is covid positive now due to that admission. They alloted a bed last week and cancelled after receiving payment. Haven’t had the courtesy to even return the money. Phones to unanswered.

  9. Excellent guide. Can some of the items can be made more objective? For instance, the phrases “mild fever”, “high temperature”, and “persistent fever” are used. It might be helpful to indicate temperature ranges, durations etc.

    Also, there may be people who have mild symptoms but cannot stay at home because they do not want to expose unaffected family members or because they are staying alone and cannot manage. Some Covid care @ home packages are making the rounds on WhatsApp. If some of these can be verified and added to the guide – might provide a third option. This option was indicated in the flow chart in your other article on “What to do if you test positive” but I could not find full details there.

    Keep up the great work!

  10. Respected concerns
    We have been try to seek icu vent bed from past 8 hours , but we are not getting any response from anyone , we have been calling 108, 114, 1912 and many more officials, we have not got any kind of response from anyone,so I request humbly to get the patient admitted as soon as possible. The patient oxygen level is coming lower as time passing but we are unable to get bed. I hope is concerned authorities will respond as soon as possible.
    Thank you

    • Sir I am trying since last 2 days.
      This is total collapse of our medical system.All helpline numbers are useless but we have no other option but to keep on trying.

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