A record 54 deaths — the second straight day of more than 50 fatalities — and the highest single-day jump in Covid-19 cases, with 2,752 infections, were recorded in West Bengal on Tuesday. This took the toll up to 1,785, and the case count to 80,984. At present, the state has 22,315 active cases.
More than 65 per cent of the new cases, and 43 of the deaths were reported from the pandemic epicentre in South Bengal comprising Kolkata, its adjoining districts North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas and Howrah; and Hooghly. In this hotbed of infection, almost 50 per cent of the state’s caseload and over half of the deaths were reported from the capital city and North 24 Parganas.
Of the 11 other deaths, four occurred in Darjeeling, two in Dakshin Dinajpur, and one each in Malda, Murshidabad, Nadia, Paschim Medinipur, and Purba Bardhaman.
Outside the epicentre, Darjeeling has the highest active caseload (741) and fatalities (27). In the region, Malda (524), Cooch Behar (443), and Dakshin Dinajpur (404) also have a high patient count. The situation has worsened in Cooch Behar since the start of last week, when its active caseload was 141.
Meanwhile, despite the huge number of cases being added daily, the recovery rate has kept its upward momentum. On Tuesday, it climbed to 70.24 per cent on the back of the release of 2,066 patients from hospitals and isolation facilities in 24 hours. Till date, 56,884 people have recovered from the disease.
According to the state health bulletin, in which figures are updated till 9 am, a record 22,321 tests were conducted in 24 hours. This was the second day running that over 22,000 tests were conducted. Due to increased testing over the past couple of weeks, the test positivity rate has risen consistently. On Tuesday, it went up to 8.27 per cent.
One of the reasons why more samples are being examined now is the antigen testing being conducted in Kolkata and its neighbouring districts. If a person tests negative in an antigen examination, then it is confirmed using an RT-PCR test.
However, a senior official said the state had written to the ICMR, requesting it to change its guidelines on “immediate retest” of people who test negative in antigen test. In the current flu season, there are a number of people at fever clinics who are testing negative. But, as per the ICMR guidelines, their samples are being sent for the RT-PCR test immediately.
—With PTI inputs