A month after the district was reopened to controlled tourism, the anticipated spike in COVID-19 cases has largely been kept at bay so far. In fact, over the last couple of weeks, the average number of cases has declined sharply from more than 100 cases a day to between 30 and 50 over the last two weeks.
Officials from the Health Department said the district administration as well as the department had been expecting a spike in the number of infections recorded each day due to the district being reopened. “However, due to the precautions taken by the Collector and the district administration, this spike has so far not materialised,” said a health official.
With over 2,000 samples being collected every day, the positivity rate had also dipped from an all-time high of 7.2 % to 1.9 to 2 % in the district, the official said. “We had seen a spike in the number of cases following resumption of bus services, but due to the district administration increasing the number of buses and reducing the passenger load by between 50-60 % and ensuring personal distancing, this spike too was managed.”
Deputy Director of Health Services P. Balusamy said private hospitals had also been asked to report cases of patients reporting with influenza-like or Severe Acute Respiratory Illnesses to the Health Department. “We then conduct fever camps in the locations where the cases are reported to trace any potential COVID-19 patients,” he said.
Officials said the number of tourists who tested positive after entering the Nilgiris was relatively low, but local residents with travel history continued to test positive. They appealed to the residents to travel to other districts only if it was absolutely necessary.