BENGALURU: As cases rise across the State, official data shows that the positivity rate in five districts for the past seven days is higher than the state’s average. Karnataka’s average positivity rate -- the number of people testing positive as a percentage of total number of tests being done -- for the past seven days is 1.6 per cent, but it ranged between 2.2 per cent and 3.2 per cent in Udupi, Bidar, Dakshina Kannada, Kalaburagi and Bengaluru Urban districts. Members of the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) suggested that these districts may have a higher positivity rate as some of them share their border with Kerala or Maharashtra, or they see a higher movement of inter-state travellers.
TAC Chairman Dr M K Sudarshan pointed out that though Udupi and Dakshina Kannada do not share their border with Maharashtra, they are impacted by the movement of people from the two states for business reasons. Many flights operate between Mumbai and Mangaluru, he added.
“Surveillance should also be done in Mysuru district as it shares a border with Kerala. The TAC has recommended that not more than 20 people should assemble for funerals, 100 for weddings in closed areas and 200 for weddings in open areas. These will be implemented soon by the State Government,” he said.
Dr Giridhar R Babu, head of Lifecourse Epidemiology at the Public Health Foundation of India, however, said that a more nuanced understanding of the situation is warranted.
‘Increased testing helps identify more cases’
“Superspreader events and increased movement of people is happening everywhere and not just in these five districts. Once the virus enters a district, irrespective of the strain, it will spread. Increased testing in these districts also helps identify more cases,” said Dr Giridhar R Babu, head of Lifecourse Epidemiology at the Public Health Foundation of India, who is also a member of TAC.“This does not mean other districts are safe. They too need to be careful and enhance surveillance measures on superspreader events. Testing needs to be increased in a systematic way, and targeted testing must take place in cluster zones instead of random testing,” he said.