Kerala recorded the most number of Covid-19 recoveries in a single day on Thursday when 202 people were discharged from hospitals. It was also the first time in two weeks that the daily recoveries eclipsed the number of new infections.
The promising statistics come a day after the state health department tweaked the discharge protocol allowing patients to be relieved from hospital if they test negative the first time after admission. Until now, patients were being tested on the seventh day after admission following which they had to test negative twice consecutively to be eligible for discharge.
The change in protocol came after directions of a similar nature from the WHO and the Centre. This will also relieve the stress on testing equipment and ensure quicker discharge of patients and better access of hospital resources for serious cases.
On Thursday, the state reported 160 new infections, out of which 106 have travel history from abroad and 40 from the rest of the country. The remaining got the infection through primary or secondary contact. This is the 14th day in a row that new infections have crossed the threshold of 100.
Since January 30, the state has recorded 4753 cases of infection with 2638 recoveries and 25 deaths. A total of 2088 people are currently under treatment. While all 14 districts of the state have Covid-19 cases, the most active cases are in Palakkad (249), Malappuram (226) and Kannur (216).
With the number of people returning from abroad having increased exponentially and the risk of community spread not over, the state is carrying out more tests. In the last 24 hours, the state tested 7589 samples, the most in a day in several weeks. On an average, over the last two weeks, Kerala was testing 5000-6000 samples a day. By mid-July, the health department intends to raise it up to 15000 samples a day which is expected to ensure better coverage of all the people travelling from outside the state and those on the frontlines.
Despite the rising number of cases, Kerala has reasons to be optimistic. It’s positivity rate continues to hover between 1.5 – 2%, similar to countries like South Korea which was able to contain the pandemic. In contrast, India’s positivity rate exceeded 11% earlier this week.
Another positive factor is that even among the cases detected so far in the state, an overwhelming 88% are ‘imported’ in nature, i.e., those who have come from outside the state. Transmission through primary or secondary contact is still low compared to other states, thanks to rigorous contact tracing and surveillance of those under isolation at the ward-level. Also, Kerala’s mortality rate at 0.5% is among the lowest in the country in between states with high caseloads.
Restrictions tighten in Kochi city
The district administration in Ernakulam, under which Kochi city falls, is preparing for tighter surveillance after more people tested positive through primary contact in connection with the cluster detected in the Ernakulam market. In the last five days alone, 16 people in the district have been detected with the virus through contact, out of which nine are associated with the Ernakulam market cluster. A shopkeeper in the market was the first to test positive, followed by his family and other nearby shopkeepers. The market has now been shut and turned into a containment zone. Samples of those who work in the market are being collected through a mobile sampling van.
The authorities in Ernakulam are mindful of the consequences of the massive Koyambedu market cluster in Chennai through which thousands were infected and don’t want a similar situation unfolding here.
“We want to appeal to the people in Kochi not to go out except for essential work. Those who have symptoms should contact health authorities immediately, VS Sunil Kumar, the minister in-charge of the district said.
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