THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Covid spread within families has become one of the major reasons for the high number of new positive cases in the state. According to experts, crowding in public places during the festive season is likely to worsen the situation in the next 10 days. Reports of crowding at shops have increased the concerns as the spread of infection remains high in several districts and the poor contact tracing has been criticised by experts.
The warning comes at a time when the state is continuing to report a high number of new cases, the highest in the country, and a test positivity rate of above 10%. The number of patients under treatment has crossed 1.25 lakh and shown no signs of decline. Doctors are concerned that the number of people getting infected could be far higher than the cases reported. According to them, the infection spread within families is not being detected easily because of the growing reluctance of people to get themselves tested.
“Small gatherings without any social distancing have caused infection transmission within families even during the lockdown. As a result, several families have become Covid clusters with one infected person transmitting the disease to other members. We can already see the Covid protocol not being followed during the festive season. The result of easing of restrictions for three days will be known in the next 10 days,” said state secretary of Indian Medical Association Dr Gopikumar P.While the infection spread within families was reported also during the first wave, the fast spreading virus strain that resulted in high mortality even among those below 40 years of age during the second wave is more worrying now.
“In the first wave, the spread within families was limited when room isolation was more or less followed. However this time, people have lowered their guard because they have started treating it as a normal flu,” said a doctor at Kozhikode Medical College Hospital. Despite noticing the spread in families, the health department faces a challenge in bringing the infected under institutional quarantine. The chief minister and health minister had repeatedly spoken about the importance of shifting people who cannot ensure proper home quarantine to domiciliary care centres.
“People are not willing to shift to DCCs and Covid First-Line Treatment Centres even when they have symptoms. There are so many cases. But we cannot compel them,” said Kerala Government Medical Officers’ Association general secretary T N Suresh.Thrissur, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Kannur and Kasaragod districts have come under the special focus of the health department over the high test positivity rate.
A meeting chaired by Health Minister Veena George last week decided to shift Covid positive persons without adequate facilities for home quarantine to domiciliary care centres. Those with comorbidities will be shifted to Covid hospitals. The minister also directed officials to strengthen the CFLTCs and the awareness activities.