Coronavirus | Local contact cases spiral in Ernakulam

On guard: A police officer checking a motorist in the containment zone at Elamakkara in Kochi on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: ThulasiKakkat

Of the 79 persons who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 on Saturday, only four had arrived from outside the State, and all 75 others acquired the infection through local contact.

A 53-year-old cancer patient from Kozhikode who was admitted to the Government Medical College Hospital (MCH), Kalamassery, died on Saturday. He had been undergoing chemotherapy at a private hospital in the district when his COVID-19 test result returned positive, and he was shifted to the MCH on Saturday morning.

As many as 13 persons have tested positive from a few divisions of the West Kochi area. An official on the surveillance team said a family from the Fort Kochi area had been on the primary contact list of a patient from Chellanam. Two others who had been engaged in unloading of fish in the Fort Kochi area, and some of their family members also tested positive, he said.

A total of 49 persons, including 11 nuns, have tested positive so far from a home for the elderly and destitute in Thrikkakara, said C.A. Nishad, local councillor. Eight of them were being treated at a private hospital at Pazhanganad, while most of them were receiving treatment at the institution itself, which had been converted into a medical facility. Seventeen persons from the institution were included in Saturday’s district-wide tally.

As part of the Aluva cluster comprising nearby panchayats as well, eight persons from Keezhmad, five from Kadungaloor, nine from Choornikkara, and five from Alangad tested positive.

Two health workers, a 51-year-old and a 25-year-old, both working at private hospitals, tested positive.

As many as 76 persons recovered from the disease on Saturday, while 911 are receiving treatment. A total of 344 samples were sent for testing.

Antigen tests

In an attempt to ensure widespread testing, antigen tests will soon be conducted at primary health centres, said Dr. N.K. Kuttappan, District Medical Officer. Necessary training will be imparted to the staff at the centres to collect samples, he added. For asymptomatic patients admitted to first-line treatment centres (FLTCs) in the district, antigen tests are now being used to check if they have turned negative before their discharge. This will, to some extent, speed up discharge from the centres, he said.

In addition to the test processing facilities in the district, a new RT-PCR machine, which can process around 200 samples daily, has been set up at the Ernakulam Public Health Laboratory. The machine is expected to be operational next week.

An emergency mobile medical team will begin functioning in the district from next week onwards. The team, including a doctor and nurse, will be equipped to collect samples for testing and provide emergency medical care.

Food kits

District Collector S. Suhas said in an online briefing that in the Chellanam, Kumbalangi and Palluruthy areas, around 4,000 food kits would be distributed in the initial phase. Similar distribution would be done in all other coastal panchayats as well. “The number of positive cases and symptomatic people from the area is reducing, and Chellanam is limping back to normalcy,” he said. Kalamassery and Fort Kochi are now areas of concern.

As many as 7,113 beds have been set up at FLTCs. The target is to set up 130 FLTCs in the district, but human resources for the centres could be a challenge, he added. “We will need about eight to 10 COVID hospitals, apart from the Medical College Hospital at Kalamassery. Besides PVS Hospital, will identify other hospitals and convert them into COVID hospitals,” the Collector said. Around 430 old age homes in the district will now be under the Health Department’s surveillance.

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Printable version | Sep 25, 2021 10:13:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/local-contact-cases-spiral-in-ernakulam/article32193301.ece

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