Tamil Nadu

6 districts have higher positivity rate than national average

On the frontline: A Chennai Corporation employee taking swabs for testing in Ambattur  

Six districts in Tamil Nadu — Chennai, Ranipet, Theni, Coimbatore, Chengalpattu and Tiruvannamalai — have a higher COVID-19 positivity rate than the national average of 5.17%, Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan said on Saturday.

“The target is to bring the positivity rate down below 5%. For this, we have to test more, identity persons who are infected, isolate and treat them so that we can prevent further transmission,” he told reporters after inspecting a COVID-19 Care Centre at Victoria Hostel here. According to the Health Department’s data, Chennai has a positivity rate of 8.08%, Ranipet 7.37%, Theni 6.85%, Coimbatore 6.21%, Chengalpattu 5.55%, and Tiruvannamalai 5.37%. Salem’s positivity rate stands at 5.06%.

Chennai, Chengalpattu, Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram, Coimbatore, Thanjavur and Nagapattinam continued to be the challenging districts where urgent measures were being taken, Mr. Radhakrishnan said.

On Friday, India recorded nearly 1,44,829 cases, he said, adding, “Tamil Nadu accounted for 3.7% of these cases. It is a challenge that the daily count is on an increasing trend in all the States. Medical experts are analysing whether this could be due to a coronavirus variant or due to the careless behaviour of people... We are imposing certain restrictions starting today [Saturday].” He said these restrictions were like the first warnings, and if people did not cooperate, the government would impose stricter restrictions. He referred to the “corona curfew” that was discussed at the meeting with the Chief Secretary. “We are still not in the same position as Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Punjab,” he said, adding that the aim was to prevent transmission and deaths.

With the daily rise in cases, the Health Department has instructed every district to set up COVID-19 Care Centres.

“These centres helped a lot during the previous surge in cases. While we had 54,000 hospital beds, we had up to 70,000 beds in place at these centres. In Chennai, we previously had nearly 20,000 beds. Now, we have readied 11,775 beds at 13 places. We have made arrangements for a COVID-19 Care Centre at Victoria Hostel with the Government Medical College Hospital, Omandurar Estate, being the link hospital. We will treat asymptomatic and mild cases at the facility,” Mr. Radhakrishnan added.

COVID-19 Care Centres were already active at Athipet and at the Regional Institute of Ophthalmology, Egmore, he said.

All Collectors should take up field visits and ensure that COVID-19 Care Centres, beds and oxygen facilities are ready.

“We have given them the freedom to directly recruit additional nurses, if required, and take in those who are willing at the district level through walk-in recruitments,” he said.

Nearly 18 lakh vaccine doses were available in the State. Mr. Radhakrishnan, however, noted that Tamil Nadu’s performance in vaccination was not satisfactory, compared with its capacity. The aim was to vaccinate at least two lakh persons a day.

Asked about the possibility of contracting infection post-vaccination, he said, “A few persons have tested positive after vaccination. It takes 14 days after the second dose of the vaccine for full immunity to build up. Any vaccine will provide 70% to 85% protection. The important aspect is that if a vaccinated person gets infected, it will not be a severe disease. Persons aged above 45 should utilise the programme and get vaccinated,” he said.

The Health Secretary added that if the COVID-19 cases kept rising gradually, elective procedures could be postponed at hospitals, while services such as emergencies, trauma and deliveries would continue as usual.

Among others, Alby John Varghese, Deputy Commissioner (Health), and Meghanath Reddy, Deputy Commissioner (Revenue and Finance), Greater Chennai Corporation, were present.

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 11:58:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/6-districts-have-higher-positivity-rate-than-national-average/article34292474.ece

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