COVID cases hit a high of 2,187 in Ernakulam

A child reacts when a doctor takes a nasal swab to test for SARS-CoV-2 at a primary health centre in Kochi on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: THULASI KAKKAT

The number of new COVID-19 cases in Ernakulam soared to hit an all-time high of 2,187 on Saturday.

The active caseload of the district has risen to 11,994. As part of the two-day mass testing drive organised to detect cases and curb the spread of infection, 20,180 samples were collected on Saturday. The district has surpassed its two-day target of 30,900 samples and has tested a total of 36,390 people on Friday and Saturday.

The district administration is improving health infrastructure further to deal with the surge in cases. In an online briefing, District Collector S. Suhas said the recently inaugurated superspeciality block at the General Hospital would be taken over for COVID-19 treatment under the Disaster Management Act, and that 100 oxygen beds would be readied at the block in the next few days.

The COVID care centre at the Fort Kochi Taluk Hospital, which had recently closed, will be restarted soon. In the next few days, 100 oxygen beds will be ready at the hospital, the Collector said.

Although the district administration had earlier planned on closing the COVID care facility at PVS Hospital, it will now continue functioning at least for three weeks weeks to treat critically ill COVID patients. The district is relying on the 100-bed critical care facility at the Aluva District Hospital to handle the caseload.

At least 15 new first-line treatment centres (FLTCs) will also begin functioning soon. The Kochi Corporation and municipalities have been directed to set up FLTCs.

The administration is also considering increasing the number of admissions at the Government Medical College Hospital, where the number of COVID patients had dipped over the past two months after it was opened up for non-COVID treatment, said Dr. Mathews Numpeli, district programme manager, National Health Mission.

Since non-COVID treatment and surgeries had resumed at private hospitals, most are finding it difficult to set aside beds and staff for COVID treatment, Dr. Numpeli said. However, private hospitals have been attempting to increase the number of beds set aside for COVID patients and are building their staff strength, he added. “Private hospitals have been directed to set aside 20% of their beds for COVID patients,” he said.

The surge in cases has been straining the existing health care facilities. Although taluk hospitals and the Muvattupuzha General Hospital were equipped earlier to treat COVID patients, these facilities are also fast approaching their maximum capacity.

Of the 1,056 ICU beds in the public and private sectors, 591 are occupied, while 148 out of 336 ventilators are in use. Of the 3,106 oxygen beds, 1,317 are occupied.

Addressing the media earlier in the day, District Collector S. Suhas said the number of new cases crossing the 2,000-mark could be attributed to the testing strategy and the number of samples collected. “The main strategy now is to identify the maximum number of positive people. Vulnerable persons, including bus drivers and conductors, people at markets, people with symptoms, and contacts of patients, are being tested. This massive testing campaign will continue if resources are available. The impact of such a campaign will be visible around two weeks from now,” he said.

Among new cases, Thrikkakara continues to top the list with 104 people testing positive from the area. Kalamassery recorded 79 cases, Thripunithura 69, Pallipuram 60, Sreemoolanagaram 59, Edathala 54, Palluruthy 45, Mazhuvannoor 44, Vengola 41, and Kadungalloor 40. In the Kochi Corporation limits, Kadavanthra registered 38 new cases, Fort Kochi 35, Edakochi 32, Palarivattom 30, Vyttila 29, Thoppumpady 26, and Kaloor 24.

Two health workers and three police officers were among those who tested positive.

A total of 327 people tested negative on Saturday, and 28,227 people remain in quarantine. While 8,394 people are recovering at home, 687 patients are admitted at private hospitals, 291 patients are recovering at COVID centres at government hospitals, and 380 people are at first- and second-line treatment centres.

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 11:28:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/covid-cases-hit-a-high-of-2187-in-ernakulam/article34345962.ece

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