COVID-19 positive cases high in TN due to more testing (Ld)
Chennai, May 13 (IANS) The higher rate of corona testing has resulted in an increased number of COVID-19 positive cases being recorded in Tamil Nadu and its capital city Chennai, said officials.
As of Wednesday, a total of over 2.79 lakh samples have been taken and sent for testing, said the state Health Department.
For the past several days, Tamil Nadu has been testing over 11,000 persons per day.
Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar had said Tamil Nadu tests the highest number of persons per day in the country.
However, the question how the virus has spread to a large extent despite the lockdown, quarantining infected suspects, and hospitalisation of COVID-19 patients pops up.
“It is not possible to prevent the spread of a contagious virus. What is possible is to delay its rapid spread. If that is done diligently, hitting the peak could be further delayed or the peak may not be achieved,” K. Kolanda Swamy, who recently retired as Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, told IANS.
On Wednesday, as many as 509 persons tested positive for coronavirus in Tamil Nadu and the previous day it was 716 persons.
A total of 9,227 persons have tested positive in Tamil Nadu as on Wednesday and the total number of COVID-19 related deaths in the state was 64.
Officials said the death rate is lower and the general population has been advised to take immunity enhancing healthy food and drinks like Kabasura Kudineer.
Out of the state total of 9,227, Chennai as on Wednesday accounted for 5,262 cases. The total number of active cases in Chennai was 4,470 after factoring the number of people cured and those who are dead.
All the 12 zones of Greater Chennai Corporation have coronavirus infected persons.
Officials said the virus has spread and it is showing up in the number of coronavirus positive cases.
Health Department officials and even Chief Minister K. Palaniswamy had said the higher density of population in Chennai is the major reason for spread of virus in the city.
Officials also said there are other risk factors like floating population, coronavirus clusters and people's negligence in taking precautions.
J. Radhakrishnan, Principal Secretary/Commissioner, Revenue Administration, Disaster Management and Mitigation, and Special Nodal Officer for Greater Chennai Corporation for COVID-19 matters said for some more days the infection rate here will be high but it is not a cause for concern.
According to the Health Department, the spike in number of COVID-19 cases outside Chennai is attributed to ‘Koyambedu Cluster' – those who had business/worked in/visited the vegetable market or their contacts.
Several districts like Ariyalur (active cases 335), Chengalpattu (345), Cuddalore (384), Kancheepuram (132), Perambalur (125). Thiruvallur (406) and Villupuram (251) are linked to Koyambedu Covid-19 cluster.
To a query when the infection would touch its peak, Swamy pointed out two possibilities – the peak may be attained in July or if precautionary measures against the virus spread are taken then there may not be a peak but it would continue at the same level in Tamil Nadu and also in Chennai.
According to him, contagious diseases like this can come under control if a sizable population gets infected. That sizeable population should be young and healthy without comorbidities.
Health Department officials insist that washing hands regularly, wearing masks and confining old people to home are the only ways to delay spread and peaking of the infection.
They said creating necessary bed facilities is not a major issue.
Swamy said instead of going into definitions of first stage, second stage and community spread, what should be realised is that there is risk of virus infection for all.
“Steps should be taken by all sectors – government and private- in creating the necessary infrastructure for people to wash their hands with soap at public and other places.
“The isolation and quarantining are strategies for delaying the spread of virus. Tamil Nadu has a major achievement in delaying the spread,” he said.
Swamy also said people's habits of popping up a pill and attending office/college/school should change. They should test themselves if they suffer from fever and be at home.
Another suggestion is to designate some number of hospitals, health centres to treat only fevers which in turn would prevent cross contamination.