The number of coronavirus cases in the state capital region and district of Gandhinagar has recorded a jump of over 200 per cent after economic activities resumed and officed reopened, according to official data. It was the highest spike among all the districts that saw such a trend, compared to the month of May when they were under lockdown.
Some of the districts that reported a sudden rise in Covid cases in June, compared to May, include Aravalli, Bharuch, Bhav-nagar, Gandhinagar, Jamnagar, Mehsana, Patan and Surendranagar.
Gandhinagar added nearly 400 cases and nearly 20 deaths in June, against 280 cases and 14 deaths till the end of May. Gandhinagar district collector Kuldeep Arya said that the surge “mainly happened in urbanised locations, with the unlock and economic activities”.
He added that in the past 15 days, the district saw nearly 200 cases, majority of them from the two talukas of Kalol and GUDA (Gandhinagar Urban Develop-ment Authority). The district saw a high test positivity rate of 15 per cent during the period.
“Majority of deaths too were reported from these areas in this period. The city has seen fairly consistent numbers in the past 15 days,” said Arya adding that the district started antigen testing from Tuesday, taking 20 samples per day in the hotspots.
A top government official said on condition of anonymity that across the state, nearly 100 per cent industrial activity has resumed. “On June 28 2019, we had 206 million units of power consumption which, on the same date, this year was 204.8 MU, which is a definite indicator of resumption,” he said.
Kalol, a hub of small scale industries, has 40 macro-containment zones, while the rest of Gandhinagar has micro-containment zones created to restrict movement. Arya said late notification of symptoms by suspected patients remains an issue. “People of age 32 and 46 years have died here. While most of the deaths have been observed in aged people with comorbidities, we cannot shirk our responsibility and term all deaths due to comorbidities. Till date, we have reported some 42 to 44 deaths (several awaiting death audits, officially the figure stands at 31) and 672 positive cases,” he added.
The district has 133 active cases, of which 104 are in hospital. The 300-bed Gandhinagar Civil Hospital has 35 ventilators. According to Arya, nearly 500 beds are available across the district in tertiary healthcare settings and a CRPF hospital. Four private hospitals too have been requisitioned but the majority of cases are in the Civil Hospital. The district, now testing 70-80 samples daily, plans to increase it to approximately 130.
Predominantly industrial district of Bharuch added 180 cases in June from 40 cases until May 31. Chief district health officer Dr VS Tripathi attributes this to the “mobility from Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Surat”. Also at the Dahej port, ship crew members who sign in and sign out are to be tested if found symptomatic.
Dr Tripathi added that the hotspot area of Jambusar has seen movement of over 100 superspreaders from Padra in Vadodara. “We also have private labs collecting samples from here now (with testing facilities at Vadodara and Surat)… On an average we see 8-10 cases daily from these samples (collected by private labs),” he said.
The Bharuch Civil Hospital has only two ventilators while the other Covid hospital, Jayaben Modi Hospital in Ankleshwar, has six. “Our task has become tougher. We continue to send two teams on a 15-day rotation to Ahmedabad and Vadodara. We also need manpower… A team of three medical officers are sent to Vadodara railway hospital and another team of two medical officers along with paramedics and vehicles are sent to Ahmedabad,” said Tripathi. He says the state is also expected to send another 10 ventilators.
Surveillance activity is primarily carried out across the 84 containment zones in the district with an approximate population of 37,900, he said.
Jamnagar, home to major refineries, brass parts industry and MSMEs had only about 50 Covid cases until May-end, and now has 198. Collector Ravi Shankar says that many from Ahmedabad and Rajkot rushed to Jamnagar considering it “safer” when Ahmedabad’s healthcare infrastructure was overburdened.
Shankar also cited how a family came from Ahmedabad, attended a marriage ceremony in Jamnagar, tested positive, and one of them died, the only death in June. Till then there were three deaths.
With 10 ventilators dedicated for Covid-19 patients, of the total capacity of 80 that it has, and another 80 ventilators expected to be delivered by the state government, Shankar says the district that also caters to patients from Porbandar and Devbhoomi Dwarka is comfortable.
“Initially, we were testing everyone possible but then the guideline came to test only those symptomatic or going for operative procedures. Now we won’t test all the family members of a positive patient (unlike earlier) but instead quarantine them,” said Shankar.
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