Visakhapatnam

20% of population may be affected, say health officials

Catamarans returning with their catch in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday. As COVID-19 cases continue to soar, demand for fish has dwindled, leaving the fishing community in dire straits.

Catamarans returning with their catch in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday. As COVID-19 cases continue to soar, demand for fish has dwindled, leaving the fishing community in dire straits.   | Photo Credit: K.R. DEEPAK

In the last three days, the number of COVID-19 positive cases had breached the 1,000-mark every day. On August 1, the number of cases recorded was 1,155, on August 2 it was 1,227 and on August 3 it was 1,049.

Health officials say that due to the enhanced number of testing the spike in cases is seen. As per P.V. Sudhakar, District COVID Special Officer and Principal of Andhra Medical College, on an average the number of tests conducted on a daily basis is over 5,000.

This indicates that about 20% of test results are turning out to be positives, which is in tune with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) prediction of 20% of the population being affected with the virus, said Director of Visakha Institute of Medical Sciences (VIMS) Satya Varaprasad.

Going by the predictions, the population of Visakhapatnam city is close to 20 lakhs, and as per the medical experts, the number of cases could peak up to 4 lakhs in the next couple of months. “The 20% infection rate has been consistent, ever since the testing scale has been increased. The day we tested 3,000, the number of positives turned out to be over 600 and when it was 4,000 the positives recorded were close to 800,” said Dr. Sudhakar.

The health officials say that community spread is on the peak and hopefully it would not cross the 20% predicted mark.

The State government has given clear instructions to test as many as possible, so that the positives roll out in large numbers. This is a strategy to contain the spread of the disease, said Collector V. Vinay Chand.

From mere two testing centres in the district about a couple of weeks ago, the district administration has set up over 100 centres in the district, including 72 in the GVMC limits alone. “Every PHC in the GVMC limits have been converted into a testing centre. This apart, there is Venereal Disease Research Laboratory (VDRL) at KGH and labs at GHCCD, ENT Hospital and Regional Eye Hospital. We also have five mobile bus testing labs and now over six private testing labs such as Vijaya Medical Centre, Vijaya Diagnostics, Pinnacle, Indus, Apollo and a couple of others have been given the permission to conduct tests,” said Dr. Sudhakar.

All the reports from the lab, including the private labs, are uploaded into the central server and high-risk and symptomatic patients are segregated and the information is passed on to the GVMC Command Control Centre. It is then up to the CCC to allocate the patients based on the risk factors to hospitals, COVID Care Centre or home isolation, he said.

According to the Collector, hospitals are only for high-risk patients and those with symptoms such as breathlessness and depleting oxygen levels. If people have facility at home for isolation and there is no symptoms, as in mild cases, then they are asked to opt for it.

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2020 9:39:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Visakhapatnam/20-of-population-may-be-affected-say-health-officials/article32271482.ece

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