Covid-19: Surge in cases in Bengaluru

95% of the daily COVID-19 caseload in Karnataka being reported from Bengaluru. File photo

95% of the daily COVID-19 caseload in Karnataka being reported from Bengaluru. File photo

With 95% of the daily COVID-19 caseload in Karnataka being reported from Bengaluru, the State’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) has said that although the situation is not “alarming” as of now, it is “concerning.” This, mainly because Karnataka has always not been far behind surges that have occurred in Kerala and Maharashtra during the last three waves.

At its meeting on Monday, the TAC took note of the Centre’s letter dated June 3 to some States including Karnataka where cases are on the rise. The Centre has said that the surging  cases in Bengaluru Urban requires focused intervention from State administration. The Centre has asked Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Telangana, Maharashtra, and Karnataka to be vigilant and take pre-emptive action.

The Centre’s letter stated that in Karnataka, between the weeks ending on May 27, 2022 and June 3, 2022, the number of new cases has increased from 15,708 to 21,055. Also for the same period the Test Positivity Rate (TPR) increased from 0.8% to 1.1%. The cases have further gone up since then.

Monitoring at borders

TAC chairman M.K. Sudarshan told The Hindu that the situation in the border areas of Maharashtra and Kerala should be daily monitored for compliance to COVID Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) especially compulsory face masking both by inter-State arrivals and local population.

“If the surge continues in the coming days then further measures of surveillance like checking for symptomatics, vaccination certificates, and testing should be introduced,” he said.

“Overall, as of now the situation is fluctuating and not alarming. The number of hospitalizations and deaths are low as of now. The daily hospitalisations should be monitored as an indicator of  progress of the pandemic. We have to be watchful as according to the predictions by the team from IIT, Kanpur the fourth wave is going to begin from June 22,” Dr. Sudarshan said.

No new variant

Health Commissioner Randeep D. said the results of genomic surveillance show that presently the Omicron BA.2 variant continues to be the dominant Variant of Concern (VoC) in Karnataka.”No new VoC or Variant of Interest (VoI) has been detected till date that is capable of triggering a new wave. With some leads from the ongoing sewage surveillance, we are now awaiting the results of the recent batch of samples sent for genome sequencing to know what is driving this surge,” he said.

The Commissioner said that the clinical preparedness of hospitals will be reviewed, mainly in Bengaluru where cases are rising. “If the daily cases exceed the threshold of 500-600, we will consider setting aside dedicated beds for COVID in government hospitals. The BBMP is already getting many calls enquiring about hospitalisation facilities for positive patients,” Mr. Randeep said.

ILI/SARI survey

Attributing the rise in cases to increased movement and disregard for COVID appropriate behaviour by people, K.V. Trilok Chandra, BBMP Special Commissioner (Health), said the palike is intensifying surveillance. “From Thursday, our health teams will visit door-to-door and private clinics to identify ILI/SARI patients and others with symptoms. Those identified will be tested and isolated as per protocols if positive. One team will be deployed for each ward,” he said, adding that the palike will increase testing from the current 16,000 done daily to 20,000. 

Genome sequencing at Victoria hospital

The State’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) has recommended that samples for genome sequencing should be sent to the laboratory in the department of Microbiology State-run Victoria Hospital that is affiliated to the Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI).

State Health Commissioner Randeep D. said this lab can process about 50 samples, whose cycle threshold (CT) value is less than 25, at a time. To expedite the genomic processing, henceforth eligible samples will be sent to this lab BMCRI, he said.

The TAC has recommended that the State should immediately provide laboratory personnel to BMCRI to commence genome testing.

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Printable version | Aug 5, 2022 4:14:59 am |