Punjab has reported less than 1,000 new cases of Covid infection each on five days in the past one week making health authorities in the state claim that a downslide has begun after the peak last month.
On October 4, when 857 new cases of infection were reported, it was for the first time that less than 1,000 new cases were reported after around two months when there were 988 cases on August 10 and after that the number continued to increase reaching a peak of 2,896 on September 17.
On October 6, 7 and 8 and 9, Punjab recorded 888, 852, 930 and 829 new cases of infection. On October 3 and 5, 1,106 and 1,062 cases were reported respectively.
“The pattern indicates transmission of infection coming down,” said Punjab Health and Family Welfare Secretary Hussan Lal, adding that the positivity rate which was around 9.5 per cent around a month ago had come down to less than half as compared to that time.
“The positivity rate has decreased gradually,” Lal said.
“The number of patients undergoing treatment has gone down. We have closed Covid Care Centres (Level 1 facilities). The numbers suggest infection is on decline,” Lal added.
On September 17, when maximum new cases of 2,896 were recorded, a total of 28,229 samples were tested (14,742 RT-PCR and 13,487 Rapid Antigen Tests). On October 7, when 852 new cases were recorded, 28,778 samples (17,572 RT-PCR and 11,206 Rapid Antigen Tests) were tested, as per the official Covid status report of the Punjab government.
“There is a downslide in new cases of infection in the state as is the pattern across the country when cases start to decline after peak. From September 14 to 20, we had a positivity rate of 9.8 per cent. It came down to 6 per cent from September 24 to 30. It further came down to 4 per cent between October 1 and 7,” said Dr Rajesh Bhaskar, Punjab’s nodal officer for Covid- 19.
Asked if the state would be able to sustain the flattening of the curve, Dr Bhaskar said, “There is an apprehension that cases may rise. It all depends whether people take precautions or not.”
State continues to have highest Covid fatality rate
Even as there is a decline in the number of Covid deaths in the past days, as per Punjab’s official Covid status report, as of October 8, Punjab continued to have maximum Covid fatality rate of 3.1 per cent, followed by Maharashtra (2.6 per cent) and Gujarat (2.4 per cent).
Samples collection around 30,000 per day
After collecting 31,869 samples on September 30, maximum on a single day and 30,932 and 30,089 on October 1 and October 2, respectively, the sample collection each day October 3 onwards has been less than 30,000 and was between 22,355 (on October 4) and 29,216 (on October 7). On Friday, 30,679 samples were collected. Dr Bhaskar said, “We have an average capacity to collect around 28,000 to 30,000 samples in a day which comes down on weekend.”
RT-PCR testing not used to full capacity
As of September 22, Punjab had a total per day RT-PCR testing capacity of 19,500 ramping up from 17,750 on September 7. Currently, the total testing capacity break-up is Government Medical College Patiala (5,500), Government Medical College Amritsar (5,500), Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital Faridkot (5,500), Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU), Ludhiana (1000), Punjab Biotech Incubator, Mohali (1,000), Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (RDDL), Jalandhar (500), Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), Mohali (500), apart from PGI Chandigarh (150) and CSIR-IMTECH Chandigarh (100). Dr Bhaskar said, in addition to RT-PCR tests, the government was also conducting a large number of Rapid Antigen Tests.
829 new cases, 35 deaths on Friday
Punjab recorded 829 new cases of infections, driving up the total tally of persons testing positive for the infection to 1,22,459.
There were 35 more deaths, taking the total count of Covid deaths in the state to 3,773. There are 10,153 active cases of infection, 208 on oxygen support and 40 on ventilator support. As many as 1,08,533 patients have been discharged after recovery.
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