Source unknown in 55% of cases in Karnataka

War room analysis shows that multiple agencies are unable to track how 50,151 individuals contracted the virus

July 26, 2020 11:00 pm | Updated July 27, 2020 08:45 am IST - Bengaluru

A health official collects samples for swab test at Chikkamavalli in Bengaluru.   V. Sreenivasa Murthy

A health official collects samples for swab test at Chikkamavalli in Bengaluru. V. Sreenivasa Murthy

With surge in the number of COVID-19 cases, the source of 55% of the total 90,942 positive cases reported in Karnataka is unknown.

According to analysis of the State war room of 90,942 cases reported till Saturday, the source of how 50,151 individuals contracted the virus is still not known and multiple agencies are unable to track this.

While the largest chunk of cases fall under the “under investigation category”, cases with domestic travel history comprise of 33% of the total cases. Meanwhile, 10% of the cases are contacts of patients who tested positive. Out of the total 90,942 cases, only 0.8% cases are learnt to have an international travel history.

 

Officials in the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike acknowledged that they were struggling to trace how people had contracted the virus. “Initially, it was easy as all our manpower were involved in tracing the source of infection and later on tracing the contacts of patients who tested positive. But this has taken a back seat with the surge in the number of cases,” an official admitted.

Limited manpower

Giridhara R. Babu, Professor and Head, lifecourse epidemiology, Indian Institute of Public Health, Public Health Foundation of India, Bengaluru, said that as the number of cases is surging, limited manpower impairs the efficiency of finding the person who tested positive quickly.

The stigma attached if one tests positive also results in many people trying to evade from being traceable, he said.

“At this stage, it is important to address both issues of engaging more personnel as well as create a conducive environment by disseminating information so that positive persons are not stigmatised,” he said. Dr Babu also said that there was an urgent need to find out how the cases spread. “If this is not done, the epidemic will outgrow in ways we do not know and we will not be able to track the trajectory,” he added.

A senior IAS officer involved in COVID-19 duty said the State government would intensify its efforts to trace the source of infection in the coming days.

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