Karnataka saw over 40 clusters in last one month

A health worker collecting a swab for COVID-19 test in Bengaluru on Monday.

A health worker collecting a swab for COVID-19 test in Bengaluru on Monday.

With over 40 clusters reported in the last one month, Karnataka has added a total of 8,610 COVID cases to its tally till December 5. Of these, over 800 cases are from the clusters alone. In fact, there has been over a 25% rise in the number of cases reported week on week in at least 16 districts.

Nearly 58% of the 8,610 cases reported in the last one month (as of December 5) are from Bengaluru Urban alone. The number of cases in seven days prior to November 5 that stood at 1,795 shot up to 2,499 in seven days prior to December 5.

According to data from the Health Department, over 20,500 samples from the 40 clusters reported till December 5 have been tested. The highest number of cluster cases have been reported from Bengaluru Urban, BBMP, Hassan, Dharwad, Mysuru, and Tumakuru districts.

While State Health Commissioner D. Randeep attributed the rise in caseload to these clusters and tourists’ movement in a few districts, the Union Health Ministry has taken serious note of this and directed the State to contain the spread on a war-footing.

In a letter to T.K. Anil Kumar, Principal Secretary (Health and Family Welfare), Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has directed the State to initiate necessary steps to control the spread of infection and reduce fatality.

“Measures should be initiated as per the ongoing strategy of test-track-treat-vaccinate-COVID-19 appropriate behaviour to keep the situation under control,” stated the letter dated December 4.

“Karnataka has reported 8,073 cases in the month ending December 3. It is also important to note that Karnataka has reported a slight increase in weekly new cases. From 1,664 new cases in the week ending November 26, the weekly cases shot up to 2,272 cases in the week ending December 3 along with an increase in the weekly new deaths from 22 to 29 over the same period,” the letter pointed out.

Districts of concern

The Union Health Ministry has identified Tumakuru, Dharwad, Bengaluru Urban, and Mysuru as districts of concern.

The week on week cases (in the weeks ending November 25 and December 2) have shot up from 46 to 116; 153<JU> to 185; 1,195 to 1,424 and 188 to 219 respectively in these districts, the letter pointed out.

However, the Health Commissioner said the rise is marginal and gradual. “We are quickly containing the clusters. Except for the cluster in SDM College, Dharwad, all are smaller clusters. We are closely watching the situation and regularly reviewing containment measures,” he said.

V. Ravi, nodal officer for genomic confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 in Karnataka, said genome sequencing reports have shown that all the cluster cases have been infected with the Delta variant. The second wave in the State was largely driven by Delta.

Asserting that clusters and emergence of the new variant are all indications that the situation can blow out of proportion, Dr. Ravi said: “People should realise that these events can lead to a wave. This is what happened before the second wave started in the State. The good thing this time is that a major chunk of the population has been vaccinated with at least one dose of vaccine. However, many are yet to get fully vaccinated. It is important that people come forward and get vaccinated.”

“While the State should aggressively test, trace and track (at least 20 contacts for every positive case), people should adopt COVID-19 appropriate behaviour, avoid congregations and never let their guard down,” he added.

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Printable version | May 23, 2022 6:58:00 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/karnataka-saw-over-40-clusters-in-last-one-month/article37875790.ece