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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Bengaluru: Nearly 18% of missing Covid-19 patients remain untraceable

Following a surge in Covid-19 cases since June 27, officials in the city of Bengaluru have been up against the problem of a large number of persons who test positive not being accounted for in the healthcare system in the city.

Written by Johnson T A | Bengaluru | Updated: August 12, 2020 8:21:25 am
Nearly 18% of missing Bengaluru Covid patients remain untraceableNearly 18 percent of 4,327 people who were untraceable since testing positive for coronavirus in Bengaluru between July 25 and August 7 continue to remain untraced. (Source: PTI)

Nearly 18 per cent of 4,327 people who were untraceable since testing positive for coronavirus in Bengaluru between July 25 and August 7 continue to remain untraced on account of wrong contact details provided at the time of Covid-19 tests in Bengaluru, a probe by the city police and the city corporation has revealed.

Following a surge in Covid-19 cases since June 27, officials in the city of Bengaluru have been up against the problem of a large number of persons who test positive not being accounted for in the healthcare system in the city—with over 10,000 patients reportedly untraced in the last week of July when cases reached 29,090 from 4,555 in a span of 23 days.

Since the discovery of the large numbers of unaccounted persons who tested positive for Covid-19 but remained untracked in the monitoring systems of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, the Bengaluru police has been tasked with finding the missing patients.

According to the data for missing Covid-19 persons in Bengaluru, a total of 3,303 of the 4,327 persons who were untraceable after testing positive between July 25 and August 7 have been tracked down by the police so far, with 769 declared as untraceable and as many as 255 still being tracked.

“Around 82 per cent of the people reported as untraceable have been tracked down on the basis of details provided by them at the time of testing. Around 18 per cent remain untraceable since they provided wrong contact details – like the numbers of someone else, fancy fake numbers or invalid numbers,” a senior police official said

“The missing data we look at is only for the last 14 days and data prior to that is of no relevance to us since the infective period is over. The police have traced many of the missing positive cases,” said D Randeep, a special commissioner in the BBMP involved with Covid-19 work, including the tracing of missing Covid-19 positive patients.

According to the data for persons who have remained untraced, as many as 100 persons who tested positive on July 29 and 79 each who tested positive on July 25 and July 28 were the highest number of untraceable persons for a given day in the July 25 to August 7 period.

“In the case of the people who have remained untraced, some of the persons gave invalid numbers. Some gave random fancy numbers. There were over a dozen people who gave fancy numbers like 9000090000. In some cases the data entry was incorrect,” said a police official.

Among the 3,303 persons who were missing from the healthcare system despite providing numbers that were traceable, many had travelled out of Bengaluru to states neighboring Karnataka or to other districts in Karnataka, police sources said. Those whom the police were able to trace were found to have provided numbers of an associate or relative, a doctor who helped collect the sample, the sources said.

“In many cases we also found that the BBMP officials had not tracked the patient after being notified about their Covid-19 positive report. They only called the patient over the phone and then left them on their own without assessing the kind of care needed,” a police official said.

In a sizable number of cases, including those where the BBMP did not carry out a follow up, the persons who tested positive travelled out of Bengaluru to their hometowns.

“After they provided samples, many persons who suspected a positive test result decided to travel to their homes in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and other neighboring states from fear of what would happen to them in Bengaluru. Many traveled to their home districts within Karnataka too. Few of the persons tracked were found to have died,” a police source said.

As of Monday August 10 there were a total of 75,428 cases recorded in Bengaluru including 32,985 active cases. There have been a total of 1,276 deaths including 1,179 since July 1. There have been a total of 1,82,354 cases in Karnataka with 79,908 cases being active as of August 10. A total of 3,312 Covid-19 deaths have been recorded in the state since March 8.

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