Health dept. clueless about COVID-19 spike as daily tests come down in Ernakulam

Contact tracing being done only in cases of Omicron variant

January 05, 2022 06:52 pm | Updated 08:00 pm IST - Kochi

A clear picture on whether there is a spike in COVID-19 cases in Ernakulam may be lacking as the number of random testing has come down drastically compared to the peak situation amidst the second wave.

As per official estimates, the current number of tests remains in the range of 7,000 to 8,000 daily. In the peak of the second wave, the corresponding figure was in the range between 20,000 and 25,000. Senior officials of the district health department said that they were facing serious manpower shortage to scale up daily tests. With the focus shifting to the handling of non-COVID cases, the process of holding random tests had declined considerably over the past few months, they said.

The health wing pointed out the lack of cooperation among the public in undertaking random tests. Many were reluctant to undergo random tests while stating that they had no symptoms. Initiatives by the health department and local bodies to scale up random tests have also come down over the past three months. Local bodies have shifted their focus on other administrative and routine works since November.

47 Omicron cases

On whether contact tracing is still on, the health authorities admitted that it is now being done only in cases related to the Omicron variant. It is impossible to continue contact tracing at the scale done in the time of the second wave, they said. The district had reported 47 cases of the Omicron variant since December 1, 2021. All these persons had come from international destinations, including high-risk nations.

The health department has also come across instances where people having symptoms continue to remain under home isolation without carrying out tests to confirm it. People without co-morbidities remain in quarantine for the mandatory period. Such cases will not come under the radar of the authorities. An infected person in a family may undergo a test to confirm the disease. But the chances of the family members, who develop symptoms, carrying out tests were remote, according to the health authorities.

1,081 fresh cases

As many as 1,081 persons tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in Ernakulam on Wednesday.

The number of persons who got infected through local contact was 1, 057. The source of infection was not confirmed in 12 cases, according to an official communication. The test positivity rate was 9.17%.

A total of 1,091 persons were placed under home isolation on Wednesday. The total number of persons under home isolation is 9, 729. The number of active cases in the district is 4,520.

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