COVID-19 surge: 23 deaths in Chamarajanagar triggers anxiety of oxygen shortage

A surge in the deaths of COVID-19 patients in Chamarajanagar near here has sparked panic among the people regarding oxygen scarcity.

Against a daily average of eight to 10 deaths, a total of 23 COVID-19 patients died late on Sunday.

“All the patients who died were on ventilator and they had co-morbidities. The deaths are not necessarily due to oxygen shortage,” Deputy Commissioner of Chamarajanagar M.R. Ravi told The Hindu over phone.

Even though he clarified that the deaths were not linked to non- availability of oxygen, Mr. Ravi said it was difficult to source oxygen from Mysuru.

The suppliers, who were under pressure to meet Mysuru’s requirements, were finding it difficult to ensure regular supply to Chamarajanagar.

Mysuru MP Pratap Simha too intervened late in the night to ensure oxygen supply to Chamarajanagar, Mr. Ravi said while claiming that he was personally monitoring the situation till 2 a.m. and procured 60 cylinders.

Death audit

Meanwhile, Education Minister S. Suresh Kumar, who is in charge of Chamarajnagar district, announced in a press conference that he has ordered a death audit of the tragedy.

In a hurriedly-convened press conference, he said, "Not all deaths which occurred over 24 hours was due to Oxygen shortage. A death audit will reveal the exact cause," he said. However, he admitted that there was a shortage of oxygen to the district and there was a crisis for two hours post mid-night on Sunday.

The district, categorised among the most backward in Karnataka, is dependent on neighbouring Mysuru for oxygen supply. The minister said that he had requested the Chief Secretary to ensure a regular supply of oxygen to the district. "I am aware that Mysuru has increasing demand. But that does not mean that Chamarajnagar can be denied supply," he said. He said an investigation will be conducted as to how oxygen supply was cut short. "Those responsible will face consequences," he said.

No delay from our side: Mysuru

The district administration in Mysuru has said it ensured the supply of 250 oxygen cylinders by midnight for which there are records and there was no delay on its part.

While 40 oxygen cylinders were transported from the district hospital in Mysuru, 210 cylinders were transported from a private agency in the city, said a release.

The clarification follows  allegations being aired that the supply to Chamarajanagar district was restricted so as to cater to Mysuru.

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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 11:03:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/covid-19-surge-22-deaths-in-chamarajanagar-triggers-anxiety-of-oxygen-shortage/article34469978.ece

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