Updated: July 21, 2020 1:13:16 pm
Aggressive and focused testing has helped Chennai control the spread of Covid-19, the city’s corporation officials said. Positive cases are identified at an early stage, they say, with the help of door to door surveillance and fever camps. The corporation has introduced mobile testing centers in densely populated areas to identify potential cases and avoid unnecessary movement of asymptomatic patients.
“There used to be a time when Royapuram and Tondiarpet used to have 200 cases per day; now we are getting maximum 50-80 cases a day. The testing has been increased, the positivity has substantially reduced. Once if someone is found symptomatic, we quarantine them till their results come out. If they are negative, we will tear off the sticker, and if found positive due procedure will be followed. Also, it is not about that individual, people who were in contact with him are also quarantined till their test results come out,” a senior corporation official said.
Chennai, as of July 20, has 87,235 positive cases, that is 50 per cent of the total cases in Tamil Nadu. There are 15 zones under the city corporation and the state government. Among these zones Royapuram (Zone 5), Anna Nagar (Zone 8), Teynampet (Zone 9), Tondiarpet (Zone 4), and Kodambakkam (Zone 10) are the most affected areas.
As per data from the Greater Chennai Corportion (GCC), there are 10,240 cases in Royapuram, 9,745 in Anna Nagar, 9,727 in Kodambakkam, 9,421 in Teynampet, and 8,750 in Tondiarpet. The positive rate of Chennai has fallen off in the past couple of days. As of July 20, the recovery rate of Chennai is 81 per cent.
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In Royapuram, 2,116 fever camps were conducted, a total of 91,407 people attended and 9,456 symptomatic cases were identified. As per GCC, there has been a dip (-3.2 per cent) in the number of new cases in the zone. Similarly, in Kodambakkam (– 4.0 per cent), Teynampet (- 2.8 per cent), Tondiarpet (- 1.9 per cent), have been reporting a decline in the number of fresh Covid-19 cases.
According to the data released by the GCC, a total of 20,071 fever camps have been conducted from May 8 till July 20. As many as 12,22,931 have attended and 65,159 symptomatic cases were Identified and tested for Covid-19. Swab tests were taken from 60,170 people. Tondiarpet, which has reported 8,750 Covid-19 cases, has the highest recovery rate of 89 per cent among all 15 zones. There are still 807 active cases in the zone.
“Focus (Friends of Covid persons under surveillance) helped the zone big time in cutting down the number of positive cases. Approximately 4,000 volunteers are employed in Chennai. All the positive patients, quarantined households are monitored closely. All the necessary items are being brought by these volunteers. On one hand, we are putting the shields so that no member from the house is stepping out. On the other hand the volunteers are helping them with all services so they don’t need to come out,” the official added.
After coming out of an intense lockdown earlier this month, Chennai markets are the next big challenge for the corporation. A cluster like Koyembedu is the last thing the officials would want.
On reports of huge crowds gathering at the Kasimedu fish market, the official said they had warned the representatives of the associations that the harbour would be sealed if they fail to adhere to social distancing norms.
“The corporation is planning to install CCTV and appoint security guards for crowd management,” the official added.
Chennai Corporation Commissioner G Prakash said 400 crore rupees has been spent so far Covid-19 preventive measures. Speaking to the reporters on Saturday, Prakash said the city has scaled up testing gradually since the pandemic outbreak in March.
“Earlier we were conducting 4,500 persons and now we have reached a stage where we are conducting close to 12,000 persons per day. Five lakh people have been tested in Chennai till date, the highest in India. Earlier if we conduct tests for 100 people the positive rate will be around 35-37 per cent and now it has come down to 10 – 12 per cent. As many as 12,000 workers have been deployed for conducting door to door surveillance and identifying persons with Covid-19 symptoms. 300 doctors have been additionally deployed to provide necessary services to Covid-19 positive patients,” he said.
Prakash added that the doubling time of Chennai has increased to 47 days. “As per ICMR and WHO, if the doubling time of COVID-19 is more than 14 days it is a good trend and we are doing well. In most affected areas like Royapuram, Thiru Vi Ka Nagar, Tondiarpet the doubling time is 90 days,” he added.
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