Three new deaths and 236 new cases were recorded in Panchkula district on Tuesday, the biggest single- day spike in cases not just in the district but across the Tricity.
A 64-year-old man, a resident of Sector 20, a 54-year-old man, a resident of Sector 19, and a 66-year-old woman, a resident of Pinjore area, succumbed to the disease. With this, the district death toll touched 23 cases.
While no details of the death including the condition patients were brought in, their comorbidities et al were given by health authorities, sources in the health department said that patients hailing from Sector 19 and Pinjore suffered from diabetes and passed away a few hours after their admission.
The patient, a resident of Sector 20, had remained admitted to a private hospital of the city since August 18 seeking treatment for the disease, but succumbed to it on Tuesday.
As per senior health officials, in most of the Covid deaths that have occurred in the district, a common factor of diabetes being a co-morbidity has been spotted. “At least 20 of the now 23 deaths had diabetes,” said an official.
Of as many as 236 cases which tested positive on Tuesday, while as many as 179 hailed from Panchkula, 12 hailed from other neighbouring districts. A total of 45 cases were still being traced by the Panchkula health department at the time of filing this report.
The surge in the cases, explains Panchkula CMO Dr Jasjeet Kaur, has come in as a result of delayed reports which were sent for testing at various labs in Chandigarh as the district lab had remained closed for days following positive test reports of as many as four lab technicians and one doctor.
Taking precautions, the lab was opened again with staggered staff which now function in two alternate teams.
Of total 236 tests, while 132 have tested positive in RT-PCR, a total of 104 have also tested positive in Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT).
RAT tests are being conducted as protocol and new sampling strategy outlined by district to spot positive cases at the earliest and isolate them before they can spread the disease any further. The strategy was formed keeping in view the chain of people testing positive after coming in contact with a positive person.
“We are getting an almost 10 per cent positivity rate in RAT tests which we were not getting in RT-PCR. They were slow and with the surge in cases, were unable to match the testing requirement. Though we are conducting RT-PCRs as well as RAT tests, our focus right now is on detecting anyone who is positive, especially among vulnerable groups, to bring down the number of deaths,” says Deputy Civil Surgeon, Dr Saroj Kumar Aggarwal.
These RAT tests are especially being conducted in rural areas, including Kalka, Nanakpur, Pinjore, Surajpur and Raipurrani of Panchkula, where high caseloads have been reported.
Cases of the district have been reported from almost all sectors of the city and from several slum dwellings and villages.
Those from outside included six cases from Punjab, one from Odisha and five from Chandigarh.
With the cases reported on Tuesday, the total number of active cases grew to 922, while 1,464 people have also been cured and discharged. As many as 33,400 samples have been collected by district authorities as yet.
A survey has been launched in the district to identify all the elderly and other vulnerable groups of people, especially those suffering from chronic diseases. Such persons are being identified and tested for the virus.
Calling it “an active campaign to overcome the virus”, the district administration launched it with the help of Asha and Aanganwadi workers along with other medical personnel of Health Department who are conducting a house-to-house survey.
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