PUNJAB ON Wednesday reported 106 Covid-19 deaths — the most in a day so far, and nearly double the 59 it had reported on Tuesday — taking the count of such fatalities to 1,618, which is just over the halfway mark of 3,000 deaths by mid-September that an expert team of doctors had predicted.
Since August 17, the per day death toll crossed 50-mark thrice in Punjab, before breaching the 100-mark Wednesday.
In an Idea Exchange session with The Indian Express last week, Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had said, “We are expecting we will peak by the middle of September. A team of doctors, which is guiding us, had forecast that by middle of September, the figure of 44,000 Covid-19 cases in August will go to 1.10 lakh in September, while casualties will cross 3,000. We are trying to deal with it.”
State Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu on Wednesday said “delayed diagnosis in patients reporting for testing/treatment at Covid facilities was the main cause of the high mortality rate”.
“As many as 67 per cent of all Covid deaths were due to patients reporting at the health facility for the first time after suffering severe signs and symptoms,” he said in a written statemeent, adding that “these cases then become difficult to manage, leading to fatality”.
Pointing to reports received from districts about resistance in communities to sampling and testing for Covid, the minister said “even symptomatic persons with co-morbidities have not been reporting to healthcare facilities till the disease becomes acute”.
“This is the cause for maximum Covid deaths being among patients with co-morbid conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, heart and kidney disease…more than 50 percent of the Covid deaths in the state have been among diabetics,” he added.
Sidhu further said, “Delay in patients reporting at hospitals and healthcare facilities was on account of false propaganda and fake news being spread by anti-social elements regarding testing and isolation of Covid patients and negative propaganda against health workers. These elements are even preventing health teams from organising sampling and screening camps. Several cases have been registered against the rumor mongers across the state…There have been instances of medical teams/sampling teams being manhandled, resistance to shifting of Covid positive patients to isolation facilities. In one such instance, the medical team that had gone to shift Covid positive patients to an isolation facility at Patran, Patiala, was manhandled and when the police force tried to intervene, villagers attacked the police personnel, injuring two police persons and damaging a police vehicle. Such incidents have created an atmosphere of insecurity and lead to lowering of morale of health workers leading the fight against Covid.” He said he had appealed to the DGP to take action against such elements.
The Minister appealed to the people of state to “join hands with state government to combat this pandemic”. He said that “in the absence of a vaccine so far, the only option for all was to follow health protocols in letter and spirit till the vaccine is developed”.
Since the outbreak, out of 1,618 Covid deaths since March 16, more than 1,300 have occured since July 27. The death toll crossed the three figure mark between July 27 and August 2 when 117 deaths were reported. Since then, there has been a continuous spike. Between August 3 to 9, there were 163 deaths, between August 10 to 16, there were 226 deaths, August 17 to 23 (274 deaths) and August 24 to 30 (319 deaths). From August 31 to September 2, 214 Covid deaths have been reported from the state.
Eighteen of the total twenty-two districts in the state reported Covid deaths on Wednesday. Eighteen deaths were from Ludhiana, eleven from Jalandhar, ten from Bathinda, nine from Mohali, eight each from Amritsar and Gurdaspur, seven from Ropar, six from Patiala, five each from Ferozepur, Hoshiarpur and Kapurthala, three each from Fatehgarh Sahib and Fazilka, two each from Faridkot, Sangrur and Tarn Taran and one each from Muktsar and Nawanshahr.
There were 1,514 new cases of infection on Wednesday, taking state case tally to 56,989.
Maximum new cases were reported from Ludhiana (242), followed by Jalandhar (171), Bathinda (163), Patiala (160), Mohali (112) and Amritsar (99).
Two police officers from Ludhiana city police have tested positive. These included a head constable attached with Additional DCP-1 and an assistant sub-inspector (ASI) from Division no. 5 police station.
According to the latest figures, currently there are 69 active cases in Ludhiana city police while 247 police officers have recovered and joined duty. Four have donated plasma after recovering.
Ludhiana has reported maximum Covid deaths (444), followed by Jalandhar (180), Amritsar (175), Patiala (174) and Mohali (92).
Ludhiana has also reported maximum cases of infection (11,160), followed by Jalandhar (6,951), Patiala (6,594), Amritsar (4,249) and Mohali (4,045).
Sangrur has reported 92 deaths, sixth highest from any district and Bathinda has reported 2,622 cases of infection, sixth highest from any district.
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