West Bengal on Thursday recorded 1,690 Covid-19 cases, the state’s highest single-day spike in infections till date, pushing the case count to 36,117. The health department also reported 23 deaths that took the toll to 1,023.
Most of the deaths (22) and latest cases (1,309) were reported from the hotbed in South Bengal that comprises Kolkata; its adjoining districts North 24 Parganas, Howrah and South 24 Parganas; and Hooghly. One of the deceased is Kolkata-based cardiologist Dr Utpal Bhowmick.
Due to the continued surge, the state’s active caseload jumped to 13,679 on Thursday. In North Bengal, where an alarming situation forced the government to impose comprehensive restrictions in five cities from Wednesday, the situation continued to remain grim as Darjeeling district reported one death and 78 cases, while Malda recorded 69 new infections. The caseload rose by 40 in Jalpaiguri district, which has recently seen a surge in cases.
Down south, Jhargram district in Medinipur division reported three new cases. It had become Covid-19 free on July 12 for the third time since the pandemic began.
Meanwhile, to stem the surge in cases, the government announced two private hospitals here would increase Covid-19 beds by 20 each, while overall it would be increased by 3,500 to 4,000. At present, there are Covid-19 hospitals have the capacity to admit 10,992 patients.
According to the state health bulletin, in which figures are updated till 9 am, 32.85% of these beds are occupied.
“The tested Covid-positive cases are increasing now. We decided to increase the number of beds by 3,500 to 4,000. Also, we prefer that mild patients stay at home. One cannot get the best possible environment than his or her sweet home. We have also arranged ‘safe homes’ for those who do not have plenty of space in their home,” Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told reporters.
The government has seen the recovery rate decline since July 5. Though 735 people were discharged from hospitals, the third straight day that 700-plus people have been released, the recovery rate fell below 60% for the first time since June 21, settling at 59.29%. Till date, 21,415 people have recovered from the disease.
The health department reported that a record 13,180 tests were conducted in 24 hours, taking the cumulative number of samples tested to 6,63,108. The test positivity rate rose to 5.45%.
The government said 558 migrant returnees, and 4,027 people were still in government quarantine, while 25,380 others remain isolated at home. There are 349 people in safe homes.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines