ROURKELA: The Covid-19 situation in Sundargarh seems to be spiralling out of control with Rourkela in the vice like grip of the infection spike.
Of the record daily jump of 355 new cases in the district, Rourkela city alone reported 232 cases on Saturday.
The daily test positivity rate (TPR) of Sundargarh has jumped from about 4.8 per cent last week to a whopping 17 per cent. The surge in infections has emerged as a challenge for the administration which is struggling with acute shortage of beds and vaccine scarcity.
The daily testing too remains way low.
Sundargarh has added 1,243 new Covid-19 infections in last nine days, taking the positive case tally to 17,416. Currently, the number of active cases stands at 1,272 and patients are forced to stay in home isolation due to dearth of hospital beds.
Chief district medical officer (CDMO) Dr SK Mishra attributed the case surge to the huge floating population of Rourkela and other urban pockets.
Despite all efforts, a majority of the population across the district are not adhering to Covid-19 guidelines, he said.
Adding to the worry, several Covid deaths are alleged to have taken place in the district though the administration is yet to acknowledge the fatalities.
If unofficial sources are to be believed, at least five patients have died in Rourkela and another in adjoining Bisra block since March 26.
President of Rourkela Steel Plant Executives’ Association Bimal Bisi claimed that on Saturday, a 55-year-old RSP employee succumbed to Covid-19 at Ispat General Hospital.
Another employee (46), who was undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Bhubaneswar for multiple injuries, also died after contracting the virus on Saturday.
However, the Health department is yet to acknowledge the deaths as Covid-19 related.
With the Steel City at the epicenter of the virus spread, Rourkela Municipal Corporation and police have beefed up enforcement drive.
In last 48 hours, over Rs 2.41 lakh fine has been collected from 533 persons for not wearing mask.
Similarly, an eatery was sealed at VSS Market of Chhend Colony and a few roadside fast food stalls at Basanti Colony were fined on Friday night.
Rourkela ADM Aboli Sunil Naravane also appealed to asymptomatic patients in home isolation to contact helpline numbers - 7847054165 and 01141182138 - on developing symptoms.
She further urged persons with symptoms to visit Shanti Memorial Hospital besides announcing closure of the Covid Clinic at Rourkela Government Hospital for safety of non-infected patients.
Meanwhile, the NTPC Medical College and Hospital at Sundargarh town has become operational as a 50-bed Covid care centre (CCC).
The privately-run JP Hospital’s Covid bed strength has also been increased to 90. Besides, plans are afoot to set up a temporary medical centre (TMC) at Rourkela and Covid care facilities in rural pockets.
The CDMO said the immunisation drive would be streamlined from Monday with arrival of over 44,000 doses by Sunday. Besides, testing would also be enhanced, he added.