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Thursday, December 03, 2020

Covid cases on rise, tests on decline in Panchkula

While the health department of Panchkula had been collecting approximately 500 samples a day till August, the numbers had steadily increased by more than double in September.

Written by Pallavi Singhal | Panchkula | November 17, 2020 3:19:56 am
Australia vaccine, Australia vaccine deal, Australia covid vaccine deal, covid vaccine, Novavax, covid vaccine Novavax, Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, Pfizer-BioNTech covid vaccine, AstraZeneca vaccine, AstraZeneca covid vaccine, World news, Indian ExpressThe district crossed the one-lakh sampling mark on Sunday. (Reuters/Used for representational purpose)

Despite apprehensions of a second wave after the festive season and the results of sero survey which had pointed towards a positivity rate of 12 per cent in Panchkula district indicating the need for further aggressive sampling, the number of tests conducted in the month of November remains low.

While the district crossed the one-lakh sampling mark on Sunday, an analysis of tests done so far shows that on average only 600 Covid tests were conducted per day in the district this month as against 740 per day in October (when the first peak was over) and 1,100 tests per day conducted in September, when the district had seen its first peak in cases.

The district’s sampling numbers began to go down in the last week of September when the district tested about 750 people per day on average — coming down from testing an average of 1,800 people per day in the first week of September, as per an assessment of the district health bulletins.

While the health department of Panchkula had been collecting approximately 500 samples a day till August, the numbers had steadily increased by more than double in September. The health authorities had then aimed at collecting almost 1,300 samples per day, including 1,000 samples in antigen tests along with almost 300 a day for RT-PCR.

As the first wave passed and Panchkula saw a gradual decrease in cases, sampling numbers went down in October.
But with the declaration of sero survey results of Haryana on November 2, the district had planned ramping up testing again. Expecting the numbers to peak again by November-end and early December, Panchkula CMO Jasjeet Kaur had told The Indian Express, “As per the results, people should continue with COVID-appropriate behaviour. We will start sampling more aggressively now on. Preparedness for second surge is better but when and how severe the second surge will be is a little difficult question to answer. We expect numbers to take a steep rise again, somewhere towards the end of November.”

But the decision to ramp up testing is yet to be implemented on the ground. Citing a lack of people’s participation in testing and their fear of coming forward, Dr Kaur said, “We tried different strategies to improve sampling, be it in industrial units, brick kilns, temples, vendors but faced a lot of reluctance by people to get tested. Could be because of fear of being isolated for 10 days or losing wages, which for labour class makes a difference. People are coming for tests only after they are developing symptoms and have tried self-treatment which failed to work. We will have to mobilise mobile teams again. We started today with office sampling again.”

At least 81 police officials were tested by the Panchkula health department under this drive.

Falling recovery rate points to higher number of new cases

Even as sampling numbers remain the same, a decrease in the recovery rate which is a direct result of the rise in the number of active cases clearly points towards an increasing positivity rate of cases in the district.

The recovery rate on October 2 had stood at 85.7 per cent which had gradually increased and maxed out at 96 per cent on October 28. Since then, a gradual yet noticeable fall in the recovery rate brought it down to 91.7 per cent on November 13.

The past two days have seen the discharge of larger number of people, thus bringing up the recovery rate to 93 per cent on Monday.

Rising number of cases

A gradual rise in the number of positive cases has been recorded in the month of November from October. While 1,000 had tested positive in October, more than 750 have already tested positive in the first 15 days of November.
More than 1,000 had tested positive in the month of October, November has already recorded above 750 positive cases in the first 15 days.

P’kula records 2 deaths after a gap of 10 days

Panchkula, which had not recorded even a single Covid-related death in the past 10 days, recorded two deaths and 59 new Covid cases on Monday.

A 27-year-old man, a resident of Pinjore who was suffering from diabetes, and a 69-year-old man, a resident of Industrial Area, also suffering from diabetes, succumbed to the disease Monday.

CMO Kaur said, “Yes, so absolutely unpredictable and one death is of a very young patient. This is where COVID has left the entire health community guessing. Which patient is going to progress and develop complications and which one will be symptomless is still a mystery in spite of best efforts by the scientists.”

Active cases in Panchkula came down Sunday and stood at 432. With the decline in active cases, recovery rate which was consistently decreasing three days ago, rose to 93 per cent on Monday.

Of the 59 cases reported positive, as many as 53 hailed from the district while others were added to the outside district tally.

The active cases stood at 432 Sunday while as many as 7,388 have been cured and discharged. As many as 160 healthcare workers have been infected in Panchkula so far.

A total of 7,939 positive cases have been reported in the district with an added 2,482 people testing positive from other districts as well. As many as 119 have also succumbed to the disease in the district.

The district crossed one-lakh mark Sunday and conducted 1,00,219 tests so far. Only 150 Covid tests were conducted by the district on Monday.

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