COVID situation in Ernakulam turning serious

Police enforcing COVID-19 protocol in the busy Broadway on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Testing for COVID-19 will be ramped up in the next two days, and people who participated in the election process will be tested, District Collector S. Suhas said on Thursday.

A minimum of around 31,000 tests will be done over the next two days, and 10 mobile testing units will be deployed from Friday onwards, the Collector said. Besides those who participated in the polling process, inpatients and outpatients at hospitals, contacts of COVID-19 patients, people with influenza-like illness, people over 45 years who have not taken the vaccine, and people in containment zones and falling within clusters, will be prioritised for testing. All available resources will be deployed to identify people with the infection.

The test positivity rate (TPR) has been over 14% for two days now. The TPR was at 14.2% on Wednesday and 14.36% on Thursday. The situation in the district is becoming increasingly serious, Mr. Suhas warned. Of the 214 ICU beds in the district, 104 are occupied. The occupancy is at 50% in the government sector and 48% in the private sector. Of the 126 ventilators, 48% are in use in the government sector and 20% are being used in the private sector.

For the third consecutive day, the district recorded over 1,000 new COVID-19 cases, with 1,267 people testing positive. Two health workers were among those who were infected. With 55 newly infected persons, Thrikkakara continues to report the highest number of cases. Palluruthy recorded 45 new cases, followed by Rayamangalam with 41, Thripunithura with 33, and Elamakkara with 27. For testing, 8,823 samples were collected. The source of infection could not be ascertained in 25 cases.

A total of 337 people tested negative on Thursday, and the active caseload has grown to 9,277. Of those recovering from the infection, 6,799 are at home, 363 are FLTCs and SLTCs, 540 are at private hospitals, 260 are at COVID treatment centres at government hospitals, and 48 patients are recovering at the naval hospital INHS Sanjivani.

While the COVID treatment centre at PVS Hospital is now running with around 20 ICU beds, the facility will soon be upgraded to house 60 ICU beds, and the 100-bed COVID care centre at the Aluva District Hospital will begin functioning immediately, the Collector said. There is however, a limit to infrastructure upgrades, he pointed out.

Local bodies have been directed to prepare action plans to reduce the spread of infection within their limits, and the police have been asked to step up enforcement of the COVID protocol.

Meanwhile, the Kochi chapter of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) said in a note that the COVID spread in the district was faster than expected, and that strict vigil was necessary. The number of patients in the district has grown exponentially over the past week, and most number of critically ill patients are in the 40 to 60 age category, the IMA said.

Serious cases of infection have been reported even among younger patients. Till around two weeks ago, private hospitals were mostly catering got non-COVID patients but are now seeing a greater number of COVID admissions. The death rate is likely to rise if the health system is unable to handle the caseload, they noted.

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Printable version | May 18, 2021 1:36:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/covid-situation-in-ernakulam-turning-serious/article34328402.ece

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