April 15, 2021 4:30:06 pm
In the poll-bound Nagarjuna Sagar assembly constituency in Telangana’s Nalgonda district, campaigning is on at full strength ahead of the polling scheduled for April 17. Meanwhile, the district is also surging ahead in terms of a sudden spike in the number of fresh Covid-19 infections.
According to the Directorate of Public Health, Nalgonda district has recorded 570 new infections in the last 7 days, much more than its adjoining districts – Nagarkurnool, Yadadri, and Suryapet, which have recorded 261, 278, and 332 fresh infections in the same period. Rangareddy, the neighbouring district of Nalgonda (as well as of Hyderabad), has during the same period recorded 1,619 cases.
Speaking to the Indian Express, Dr. A Kondal Rao, Nalgonda’s district medical and health officer (DM & HO), said Covid-19 cases have been on the rise in the district from the last week of March and the test positivity ratio has risen from 0.2 percent then to 5 to 6 percent now.
He attributed the sudden surge in caseload to the movement of people from Hyderabad, Rangareddy and other Andhra districts bordering Nalgonda. Does that mean the ongoing election campaigning in the Nagarjuna Sagar constituency has had a role in the rise in positive cases? “It cannot be said so without any evidence,” he said.
Warning of the pandemic situation getting out of hand if the trend of rising new infections continues, Director of Public Health Dr. G Sreenivasa Rao Wednesday appealed to the people to wear masks even inside their homes to prevent family members from getting infected. He also warned of a situation akin to Maharashtra as cases are likely to rise across the state for another 4 to 6 weeks.
While Greater Hyderabad has recorded 3,008 fresh infections of coronavirus over the last seven days, other districts which breached the daily average of the 100-figure mark in new infections on Wednesday are Medchal-Malkajgiri, Nirmal, Nizamabad, Kamareddy, Jagtial, Khammam, and Sangareddy. Medchal-Malkajgiri, which like Rangareddy shares its borders with Greater Hyderabad, reported 1,958 fresh infections in the last week.
Similarly, Nizamabad, Nirmal and Kamareddy districts, which share their borders with Maharashtra, reported 16, 18, 772, and 679 new cases in the last seven days. Jagtial district, which shares its borders with Nizamabad and Nirmal, also recorded 874 new cases during the same period.
Even state Health Minister Eatala Rajender had a few days ago cited rising cases in Maharashtra as a reason for surge in positive cases in these border districts.
Other districts witnessing a surge in caseloads are Sangareddy, bordering Karnataka and Khammam, which shares its borders with Andhra Pradesh. These two districts have reported 843 and 506 new cases, respectively, over the last seven days.
“As Hyderabad and Rangareddy are close to Nalgonda, even most of the officials don’t stay in the district headquarters but commute daily. People who have small businesses in Hyderabad and a lot of daily wage labourers commute between the districts every day. People can enter Nalgonda via Devarakonda, Suryapet, Kodad, and Nandigama etc. The positive cases are rising on the Andhra side as well,” he said, adding, “Cases will continue to rise as the movement of people between places continues as usual”. Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh, which shares its borders with Nalgonda, has reported 622 cases in the last 24 hours alone.
According to the DM & HO, the district administration has identified 83 hospitals with more than 20 beds as suitable for offering Covid-19 treatment. As of now, 43 such hospitals are allowed to treat Covid patients.
“We are giving training and orientation to all doctors and private hospital managements in these 43 hospitals. There are 43 institutions in the government sector, including a district hospital, area hospitals, community health centres and primary health centres which have sufficient beds. Yes, we are well prepared,” the official added.
With regard to the status of beds in Covid hospitals given in the daily bulletin, Covid treatment in the district is offered only in three multi-speciality private hospitals. As many as 364 of the 370 total available 370 here were lying vacant as of Wednesday.
Increase bed strength, says Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar
On Thursday morning, Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar took stock of the prevailing Covid-19 situation in the state. A note from his office said officials have been directed to further increase the bed strength for Covid patients in government hospitals and private medical colleges, among other healthcare facilities, to be prepared for any eventuality in case of an increase in cases in the state.
In the same meeting, the district collectors were told to ramp up testing and intensify the ongoing inoculation drive, while enforcing Covid-appropriate behaviour among the public. While directing officials to double Covid care centres in all districts, he also asked them to sensitise private hospital managements on judicious use of oxygen, the note said.
With 3307 new infections recorded on Wednesday, the state’s cumulative caseload stands at 3,38,045. Eight Covid fatalities were reported the same day, for the second consecutive day.
As on date, Telangana has 27,861 Covid patients active and under treatment. While 18,685 of them are under home or institutional quarantine, 9,176 are admitted in different hospitals, according to the health bulletin issued Thursday morning.
The test positivity ratio has jumped to 3.1 percent even as the state tested 1,06,627 samples for the viral infection. The recovery rate in the state has declined to 91.22 percent and the case fatality ratio has risen to 0.52 percent.
In continuation of the trend, the percentage of symptomatic patients in the cumulative caseload has further declined to 19.2 percent, suggesting that as many as 80.8 percent of patients are asymptomatic.
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