BENGALURU: While the COVID peak in the state is expected to be on January 25, the state health department has kept a watch on six districts to ensure that cases do not surge drastically and eight other districts where there is an urgent need to prepare hospital infrastructure as the Test Positivity Rate (TPR) in some of these districts is 30 per cent which is almost double the state average.
The state war room data shows that Kalaburagi (20.56 per cent), Chikkamagaluru (19.56 per cent), Udupi (19.26 per cent), Ballari (19.17 per cent), Bengaluru Rural (18.91 per cent) and Davanagere (18.28 per cent) are under the department's radar.
Raichur, Chikkaballapur, Koppal, Chamarajanagar and Kodagu are under watch as they have shown an increased TPR over the last 15 days, indicating that the surge witnessed in Bengaluru is spreading to other districts.
Though hospitalisation in the ongoing third wave has been low, health experts fear that a higher growth rate for a longer period will eventually overwhelm the health infrastructure like in the second wave. The gravity of the situation prevailing can be gauged by the fact that around 80 per cent of districts have reported TPR of over 10 per cent and the average of all the 31 districts is over 5 per cent.
As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), TPR of over 5 per cent is a cause of concern. The health ministry has been keeping track by classifying districts into three categories according to their TPR -- those with over 10 per cent positivity, between 5 and 10 per cent and less than 5 per cent.
The positivity rate in districts neighbouring Bengaluru has gone up drastically, worrying district officials. In Hassan (32.93 per cent), Tumakuru (31.49 per cent), Mysuru (30.09 per cent), Mandya (29.71 per cent), Dharwad (23.78 per cent) and Shivamogga (22.91 per cent), TPR is double the state daily average of 12.45 per cent.
The positivity rate is determined by the number of positive cases per 100 samples in a specific place, and decisions on imposing restrictions are based on this.
Experts from the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) have informed the health department these districts should be paid attention to by increasing tests. Districts that are reporting TPR in single digits too need more testing. If testing is increased in these districts, the number of cases detected too will go up.