West Bengal on Saturday reported a record 42 deaths, which pushed up the toll to 1,332, and added 2,404 infections that took the caseload to 56,377, even as the Department of Health noted a worrying development in North Bengal.
The Officer on Special Duty for the region, Sushanta Roy, said a health worker in Jalpaiguri had contracted Covid-19 for the second time. The health worker had been declared recovered towards the end of last month, but tested positive again last week. Three more such cases have been detected in North Bengal.
“The second infection is also from coronavirus itself. The Department of Health is investigating if the virus that causes the disease mutated or not. The results are expected within a week,” said Roy.
The latest addition to the caseload was the second highest in a day till date. Of the new cases, 75 per cent were recorded in the epicenter of the pandemic in South Bengal comprising Kolkata; its adjoining districts North 24 Parganas, Howrah and South 24 Parganas; and Hooghly. This pandemic hotbed also reported 35 of the latest deaths. Of the other fatalities, two each occurred in Jalpaiguri, Uttar Dinajpur, and Malda in North Bengal, while one was reported from Murshidabad.
In some good news for North Bengal, where the surge in cases since the start of the month has the health authorities worried, the situation continued to improve in Malda. The district’s active caseload declined by 70 to settle at 420, while in Dakshin Dinajpur the active case count was 329 following the discharge of 89 people.
Both the districts have seen their recovery rates rise massively since the start of the week — 16 percentage points in Malda, and 24 percentage points in Dakshin Dinajpur. In contrast, the discharge rate in Darjeeling improved five percentage points, while in Jalpaiguri it declined seven percentage points.
The infection has also picked up pace in Cooch Behar, which added 135 cases in the last six days, compared to 48 in the week before. The district now has an active caseload of 144, up from 51 on Monday.
The infection growth has also surged in Purba and Paschim Bardhaman districts — they have added a combined 446 cases in the last six days, compared to 343 the week before — and Purba and Paschim Medinipur, which have already added a combined 146 cases compared to last week.
Meanwhile, the overall recovery rate continued to improve, rising to 63.24 per cent on the back of 2,125 people getting discharged from hospitals and isolation facilities in 24 hours. The state’s active caseload increased to 19,391.
According to the health bulletin, in which figures are updated till 9 am, a record 15,628 tests were conducted. This was the second straight day that over 15,000 samples were examined, and came a day after the Centre advised West Bengal and eight other states to step up testing.
Due to an increased number of tests over the last week, the test positivity rate has climbed significantly. It was 7.14 per cent on Saturday, up from 5.83 per cent a week before.
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