Bengaluru: As many as 24 patients including 23 suffering from COVID-19 died in Karnataka’s Chamarajanagar due to alleged oxygen shortage in the district hospital in the last 24 hours, officials said.
A pall of gloom descended on the Chamarajanagar district hospital as the grieving kin of the deceased gathered after hearing the news.
Family members of the dead also staged a demonstration at the hospital and alleged there was a shorten of oxygen and raised slogans.
Chamarajanagar district in-charge minister S. Suresh Kumar, who is also the primary and secondary education minister, said he has ordered a death audit report from the district administration into the incident.
He, however, maintained that all the deaths did not occur due to oxygen shortage.
“It’s not appropriate to say that all the 24 deaths happened due to oxygen shortage. These deaths had happened from Sunday morning to this morning. The oxygen shortage happened in the wee hours of Monday – from 12.30 am to 2.30 am,” Kumar told reporters in Bengaluru.
Chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa too called the deputy commissioner of the district and obtained information about the incident.
According to NDTV, Yediyurappa has appointed IAS officer Shivayogi Kalasad to investigate into the matter and the report into the death has to be submitted to the government within three days.
Suresh Kumar said the death audit report would detail what these patients were suffering from, whether they had any comorbidities and in which state they were brought to the hospital.
“All the people who died may not have died due to oxygen shortage,” he added.
According to him, there is a stock of 6,000 litres of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) but there was a need for oxygen cylinders.
“The cylinders were supposed to come from Mysuru but there was some glitch,” Kumar said.
He also said he has explained the situation to the chief secretary of the state, personal secretary to the chief minister and the additional director general of police Pratap Reddy, who is in charge of oxygen supply in the state.
“I have also told the officials to find a permanent solution for the supply of oxygen in Chamarajanagar district.
“There indeed is a problem in Mysuru but that should not hinder the supply of oxygen from Mysuru to Chamarajanagar and Mandya,” Suresh Kumar added.
Mysuru MP, Pratap Simha, told NDTV, “Last night, when media people drew my attention to the situation of oxygen shortage in Chamarajnagar district, I myself contacted deputy commissioner (DC) Dr MR Ravi and took a conference call with ADC who is in charge of oxygen. At night itself I contacted Southern Gas and they provided 15 cylinders. Before that also we had given from the quota. Despite all this, this sad incident occurred. Chamarajnagar is not some far away place. We feel it is part of us. We are part of their sorrow.”
Expressing his sorrow over the death of 24 people, the chief minister said he would be rushing to Chamarajanagar to take stock of the situation.
Karnataka reported 37,733 fresh COVID-19 cases, 21,149 recoveries, and 217 deaths in the past 24 hours. The number of active cases in the state stands at 4,21,436 with 11,64,398 recoveries.
(With inputs from PTI)