BENGALURU: Though the number of Covid-19 infections in the state has marginally decreased, the formation of clusters in some districts is worrying health officials. Experts say that such clusters can lead to an increase in cases in no time, especially with the Delta variant in circulation in the state.
A health official said, on condition of anonymity, that when analysing the cause of spread, especially in some areas of cities and villages in the districts, the department found that “sources of infections are streets adjacent to main marketplaces, people visiting hospitals without following protocol like masks, people attending weddings, funerals, functions at houses and mass gatherings at religious places”.
Recently, in Thimmanakoppalu village in Pandavapura taluk of Mandya district, 25 people who attended the final rites of a person tested positive. Following this cluster outbreak, officials sealed the entire village. Despite Covid norms, many villagers gathered in their hundreds for the funeral, leading to the formation of a cluster. Meanwhile, paying guest (PG) accommodations and hostels have also become hotspots.
Recently, more than 100 nursing college students, mainly those residing in hostels and PGs, tested positive. These clusters in Hassan were reportedly primary and secondary contacts of students who had returned from Kerala.
In Bengaluru, though the number of cases has been low, micro containment zones have gone up with apartments and residential societies reporting a large number of cases. As per BBMP War Room data, as on Monday, there are 162 micro containment zones, and 88 apartments have been declared ‘containment zones’.
“It is very important for officials to not just issue SOPs but make sure there is no laxity in implementing them. Weddings, funerals, functions, PGs and hostels, political events and religious gatherings can be super spreader events, leading to clusters. With the Delta variant in circulation, it won’t take much time for the infection to spread, if care is not taken,”said Dr Manjunath CN, Director, Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular diseases.
TAC for expert tech panels to guide officials
The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) has recommended the formation of District Level Covid Technical Expert Committees (TEC) to provide technical guidance to district administrations. The TEC should regularly interact with the state TAC, and function under the overall guidance of TAC. Further, TEC shall review data at the district level and compare it with data from other districts, states and national level, on a continuous basis. It shall help the district administration by utilising information obtained locally, and facilitate public health actions and containment measures.