Kochi

5 cases that changed COVID-19 scene in Kochi city

Safety first: People wash their hands with soap in front of the Ernakulam General Hospital on Saturday.

Safety first: People wash their hands with soap in front of the Ernakulam General Hospital on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: ThulasiKakkat

Five patients drastically changed the COVID-19 scene in the city, sending the police into a frantic search for a large number of primary, secondary, and tertiary contacts to contain the spread of the virus.

One person each from Broadway, Palarivattom, Girinagar, Chellanam, and Ernakulam market who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 eventually turned out to be the source of infection for a large number of people.

“There is something called R0, which is the number of new infections estimated to have stemmed from a single case. If a person infects only one, then the R0 value will be one, and if he infects two, then the R0 value will be 2. If the R0 value is more than one, then it has to be taken seriously as it would likely cause community spread. Such cases can drastically change the equation,” said Vijay Sakhare, Inspector General and District Police Chief (Kochi City).

The five key cases in the city ended up with very high R0 values. For instance, the one from Chellanam had an R0 value over 25 and the one from Broadway had the R0 value of 15 after infecting as many persons.

Owing to the high density of population, Chellanam has since reported a huge surge in infections, leading to its complete lockdown.

This left the police with a challenging task of having to track down multiple layers of primary, secondary, and tertiary contacts. “We have traced them, put them in quarantine and contained the entire areas surrounding them. And we keep on tracing the contacts of new infections stemming from the original five,” said Mr. Sakhare.

He said that the surge in the number of infections within the containment zones such as Chellanam should not be a great worry as the infection was contained and prevented from spreading into the larger community.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2020 2:00:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/5-cases-that-changed-covid-19-scene/article32127169.ece

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