New Delhi: The Karnataka government on Wednesday issued an order notifying establishment of fever clinics and swab collection centres in 66 private hospitals or medical colleges in the city, aimed at controlling the spread of COVID-19.

It said, with the spike in number of Influenza-like Illness (ILI) and Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI) cases, there is a need to increase the number of fever clinics and swab collection centres. "The private medical colleges and private hospitals are instructed to work as fever clinics cum swab collection centres," the order dated Tuesday with a list of 66 private medical colleges and hospitals said.

It said that institutions should go as per the triaging of ILI and SARI cases to find COVID-19 suspects, draw the swabs as per testing policy of the state government, use the software application meant for fever clinics and swab collection centres and make it available for transportation to labs identified by the government.

"The institution will collect their regular OPD charges for triaging and a maximum of Rs 350 for each swab from the patient. The test will be conducted at government's cost," it added. Karnataka was the first state in the country to come out with the concept of fever or flu clinics.

These have been established as the first point of contact for persons suffering from coronavirus like symptoms- fever, cold, cough, sore throat, breathlessness etc. The state has improved its daily testing capacity from a few hundred tests in April to more than 10,000 now.

Noting that the state has more than 600 fever clinics and over 1,172 swab collection centres to screen patients and collect the swab in case the patient is suspected of COVID-19, the notification said, in Bengaluru, various urban public health centres have been converted into fever clinics. Already 52 government managed fever clinics cum swab collection centres are functional.

Pointing to the rise in number of ILIs and SARI cases and the need to increase the number of fever clinics and swab collection centres, it said many private hospitals or all medical colleges in Bengaluru have the capacity to run such clinic cum collection centres. "Therefore, the order is passed under Section 2 of Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, read with Karnataka Epidemic Disease Ordinance, 2020 to control the spread of COVID-19 and in the public interest," it added.

Bengaluru till last evening reported a total of 1,505 positive cases of COVID -19, which includes 73 deaths and 435 discharges. The city on Tuesday reported 107 new positive cases.