Tamil Nadu’s tally of COVID-19 cases surpassed the 6,000-mark as 600 persons tested positive for the disease on Friday. Chennai recorded 399 new cases. The State’s total of COVID-19 cases now stands at 6,009*. Chennai’s count goes up to 3,043.
Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar said the increase in positive cases was no cause for panic as it was the result of “aggressive testing”. He added that three persons died due to COVID-19 in the State — two in Chennai and one in Tirunelveli.
A 78-year-old man from Tambaram, admitted to the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH) on April 30, died at 9 p.m. on May 7. He had co-morbid conditions. The second patient, a 56-year-old man from Chennai, was admitted to RGGGH on May 6 and died at 11.50 p.m. on May 7. An 83-year-old resident of Tirunelveli, who had co-morbid conditions and was very sick, was admitted to Tirunelveli Medical College Hospital on May 6 and died at 2.30 a.m. on May 7.
The Minister said the State’s mortality rate was 0.68%. As on Friday, the State has reported a total of 40 deaths due to COVID-19. The fresh cases were reported from 18 districts. Apart from Chennai, Tiruvallur had 75 new cases, Cuddalore had 34 cases and Chengalpattu 26 cases.
There were 21 cases in Villupuram, 11 in Tiruvannamalai, eight each in Kancheepuram and Kanniyakumari, four in Tirunelveli, three in Virudhunagar, two each in Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri and Madurai, and one each in Ramanathapuram, Tenkasi, Theni, Tirupattur and Tiruchi.
Another 30 children aged 0 to 12 tested positive in the State. A total of 58 patients were discharged, taking the number of patients discharged in the State to 1,605.
“Today alone, we have tested 13,980 samples. So far, we have tested 2,16,416 samples through RT-PCR. This is the highest testing number in the country. A bigger State like Maharashtra, that has more cases, has tested 2,02,105 samples as of Friday morning,” the Minister said. The reason for testing more was because the State had the highest number of testing facilities in the country — 36 in the government and 16 in the private sector, he added.
“We are testing persons with severe acute respiratory infection and even those with common cold/cough. We are testing contacts of positive patients, and also pregnant women five days before their expected date of delivery,” he said.
The State was providing comprehensive treatment for the patients — symptomatic treatment, Indian system of medicine and prescribed diet, he said, adding: “The Union Health Minister conducted a meeting via video-conferencing to analyse the situation in the State. He appreciated certain best practices in T.N. such as good public health system, low mortality rate, increased testing and uploading of data online. He said he would take this forward to other States.”
Explaining home monitoring of COVID-19 patients, he said in hospitals, 80% of patients were asymptomatic. About two to three per cent had symptoms of cough, fever and breathlessness. “As per the Centre’s guidelines, asymptomatic patients can stay at home provided they have a separate room. So, those who have no symptoms, have no co-morbidities but have tested positive for COVID-19 can stay at home as per doctor’s medical advice. If needed, a chest X-ray will be taken ,” he said.
He added that the government would ascertain if the person has adequate facilities for home monitoring such as a separate room with attached bathroom, and space for maintaining physical distance. The government would provide a kit for patients under home isolation. It would contain information on the dos and don’ts for patients and their caregivers, diet chart, masks, zinc and vitamin tablets, kabasura kudineer and nilavembu kudineer , soap and hand sanitiser, the Minister said.
He added that the government had increased bed strength in hospitals to 29,000 and had allotted funds to further increase capacity. “We will continue to increase bed strength, which is adequate as of now,” he said.
He emphasised the need for protecting vulnerable sections such as the elderly, those with hypertension, diabetes, persons undergoing dialysis, cancer patients and tuberculosis patients and those with immune-compromised conditions. He called for community participation.
(* This is inclusive of two deaths cross-notified to other States and one patient who died after testing negative for the infection)