Coronavirus | Focus on Kerala as 84 test positive in a day

Men stand next to a poster that urges people to wash their hands and wear masks to protect against the COVID-19 pandemic in Kochi on May 28, 2020.

Men stand next to a poster that urges people to wash their hands and wear masks to protect against the COVID-19 pandemic in Kochi on May 28, 2020.   | Photo Credit: AP

Returning expatriates, non-residents add bulk of cases; one patient dies in A.P.

One more death and 128 fresh COVID-19 positive cases were reported in Andhra Pradesh on Thursday, but attention was focused on Kerala as the State reported one of the highest case numbers till date when 84 persons tested positive.

All of these cases, except five, are imported cases of infection, brought in by returning expatriates from abroad or non-resident Keralites.

Of the new positive cases, 48 people returned from other States, while 31 were expatriates. The remaining five cases were infections acquired through “contact”, from known or unknown sources of infection.

These cases apart, a Telengana native, who died in the capital last night was confirmed as COVID-19 positive. This person, along with his family, had reached the capital after he boarded the wrong train from Rajasthan on May 22.

Kasaragod accounted for 18 cases, Palakkad (16), Kannur (10), Malappuram (8), Thiruvananthapuram (7), Thrissur (7), Kozhikode (6), Pathanamthitta (6), Kottayam (3), Kollam (1), Alapuzha (1) and Idukki (1).

Three persons were reported to have recovered from the disease on Thursday.

There were 526 COVID-19 patients undergoing treatment in the State. Of the 1,088 cases reported so far in Kerala, 555 persons had recovered.

The State put 1,15,297 persons under surveillance, of whom, 1,14,305 were on home or institutional quarantine. A total of 992 persons were in isolation wards in various hospitals for observation. On Thursday alone, 210 persons were admitted to hospitals.

Palakkad had the maximum number of COVID-19 patients in treatment at 105, Kannur (93), Kasaragod (63) and Malappuram (52) were other districts with significant cases.

So far, among 60,685 samples sent for PCR test 58,460 had returned a negative result.

As part of sentinel surveillance, of 9,937 random samples tested, 9,217 were negative. Six new regions were designated hotspots on Thursday, with three in Kasaragod, two in Palakkad and one in Kottayam. There were 82 hot spots across the State now.

Two days after issuing a circular permitting home quarantine of international and inter-State travellers after seven days of institutional quarantine, Karnataka said it had done away with the previously mandatory COVID-19 test for asymptomatic individuals.

A circular was issued by Jawaid Akhtar, Additional Chief Secretary (Health and Family Welfare and Medical Education) late on Wednesday night.

Stating that the new guidelines were based on recommendations from the State’s COVID expert committee, Mr. Akhtar said: “There is not enough space in hotels and as more and more travellers are coming in, it may lead to overcrowding.”

Coronavirus | Focus on Kerala as 84 test positive in a day

According to the circular, any person who had completed seven days of institutional quarantine and was asymptomatic could be permitted for home quarantine without a COVID-19 test (RT-PCR), subject to undergoing a medical check-up. The medical check here refers to thermal screening with temperature less than 37.5C or 99.5F and pulse oximetry greater than 94%.

“All elderly people (aged above 60 years) and those with comorbidities (such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, asthma, heart ailment, renal disease among others) are required to be clinically evaluated diligently prior to shifting them for quarantine,” the circular stated.

“All such persons will be mandatorily under home quarantine for the next seven days. Before shifting to home quarantine, it should be ensured that hand stamping is done and entry is made in Quarantine Watch app,” the circular added.

Mr. Akhtar said the State had identified a private hospital for COVID test of travellers in the vulnerable category, especially pregnant women. “Their tests will be done at the private hospital on priority so that they can be sent for home quarantine without much delay,” he said.

Justifying the decision of reduction in number of institutional quarantine days from 14 to seven, he said: “The Government of India has done this too and new literature shows that 14 days is not necessary. Studies have also shown that transmission of the virus through asymptomatic persons is rare.”

Meanwhile, 115 new cases were reported in the State on Thursday taking the total number of positive cases to 2,533. This included 47 COVID deaths, two non-COVID deaths and 834 discharged persons. The State’s fatality rate stood at 1.85%.

Among the new cases, 95 were inter-State travellers and two international passengers.

The highest number of cases were reported from Udupi with 29 patients, Dakshina Kannada with 24, Hassan with 13, Bidar with 12 and Bengaluru Urban with 9, said Primary and Secondary Education Minister Suresh Kumar.

With another death and 128 fresh COVID-19 positive cases as of Thursday, the tally in Andhra Pradesh went up to 3,245 and the toll rose to 59. The new fatality was in Kurnool district which had the highest number of cases and deaths.

Of the 128 cases, 54 were of locals and 74 migrant returnees. A majority of the migrant returnees had recovered. During the past day 68 persons had recovered and so far 2,125 patients were discharged after recovery.

There were 1,061 active cases and these rose in the recent past due to increasing number migrant returnees and foreign returnees. The State completed 3.42 lakh tests including the 9,858 tests conducted in the past day.

Tamil Nadu reported the highest number of deaths due to COVID-19 on Thursday, with 12 fatalities. This took the toll to 145.

The total number of patients discharged stood at 10,548, including the 639 on Thursday, pegging the State’s recovery rate at nearly 55%. The number of active cases were 8,676.

In another single-day spike, the State added 827 cases, taking the tally to 19,372. Chennai accounted for 559 cases. With this, the city’s total number of cases climbed to 12,762, and its toll swelled to 106.

Among the 827 new patients were a six-day-old infant in Chennai and a 10-day-old child in Dindigul.

Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar said of the new cases, 117 had returned from other States. “Of the 10,548 persons discharged from hospitals, there were 643 people who had various co-morbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, cancer and tuberculosis. Some of them were admitted to the hospital for a maximum of one month and recovered,” he said.

Among those treated and discharged were 1,159 children and 230 mothers and their newborns, he added.

Eleven of the deaths took place in Chennai. Among them was a 36-year-old man, who had pulmonary tuberculosis and tested positive for COVID-19 on May 24. He was admitted to the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH) on May 25 and died on May 27 due to cardiopulmonary arrest, hemoptysis and aspiration pneumonitis.

A 44-year-old man from Tiruvannamalai was admitted to the Chengalpattu Medical College Hospital on May 15. He died on May 26 due to acute coronary syndrome, inferior wall myocardial infarction, first degree block, cardiogenic shock, diabetes and systemic hypertension.

A 54-year-old man with diabetes and systemic hypertension was admitted to a private hospital with complaints of breathing difficulty and fever on May 26. He died on Wednesday due to severe acute respiratory syndrome. A 64-year-old man with diabetes and coronary artery disease was admitted to RGGGH on May 27. A COVID-19 test was done in a private hospital and the sample returned positive for the infection. He died within five hours of admission of cardiopulmonary arrest and acute coronary syndrome.

The Minister said that the State had been maintaining a mortality rate of 0.7%. “In some cases, private hospitals are referring patients to government hospitals at the last minute at night. We are unable to save them in half an hour. Early diagnosis is our strategy. We have issued strict protocols to private hospitals and have asked them to adhere to them,” he said.

Apart from Chennai, there were 45 new cases in Chengalpattu, 38 in Tiruvallur, 19 in Kancheepuram and 16 in Tiruvannamalai. Among the new cases, 74 persons had returned from Maharashtra and 20 from Karnataka. Four persons, who returned from Delhi, Karnataka and Haryana by flights, had also tested positive for COVID-19.

The Minister added that till now, a total of 1,253 persons, who returned from other States, had tested positive for COVID-19 in T.N. - 936 from Maharashtra, 27 from Gujarat, 26 from Karnataka, 17 from Delhi, 19 from West Bengal, 10 from Kerala and 10 from Rajasthan.

“Just today, we have tested 12,246 samples. Till now, we have tested a total of 4,55,216 samples. The more we test, more cases are reported. We are transparent in declaring positive cases. There is no need to fear about the numbers, and this should not be politicised too,” he said.

Dr. Vijayabaskar pointed out that many people were still not wearing masks in public places. “When we visit containment zones such as in Royapuram and Pulianthope, people put on a mask on seeing officials. We are continuously emphasising this for their safety,” he said.

“If people find it so difficult to wear cloth masks and complain about not being able to breathe, think about doctors, staff nurses and laboratory technicians. Air conditioners are turned off in all hospitals. With the soaring temperature, medical and paramedical staff wear coveralls, goggles, head cover, N95 masks and double gloves. They have scars on the skin and behind the ears,” he explained.

At RGGGH, which has taken up trials for convalescent plasma therapy, seven patients had received plasma and were making a recovery, he said, adding, “As part of the ICMR solidarity trial, a patient received remdesivir and is doing well.”

The Minister said that special measures were being taken to contain COVID-19 in Chennai. All persons with symptoms of Influenza-Like Illness were being tested as per protocol. “We are going beyond ICMR guidelines and are testing pregnant women and home contacts of positive patients,” he said.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 3:47:28 PM |

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