BHUBANESWAR: Coronavirus cases may have gone down in Odisha, but not the severity of the disease as is evident from a renewed surge in hospitalisations. The share of hospitalised cases has gone up from 15 per cent (pc) during the peak to 22.1 pc now.
Health department sources said around 22 pc of the active cases in the state were under treatment at various health facilities and around eight pc among them were admitted to ICUs.
Of the 30,806 active cases in the state, 6,787 people were admitted to hospitals and other Covid health facilities and the rest 24,019 in home isolation. Among those hospitalised, 2,217 were in the ICU and 615 on ventilators.
More than 49 per cent ICU beds and 47 ventilators are still occupied as there has not been a significant decline in the number of critical patients. “The number of critical patients has come down but not proportionately to the rate of infection,” admitted a senior health official.
Adding to the worry is the steady rise in new cases and fatalities. The state reported 3,650 fresh cases and added 44 more deaths in the last 24 hours pushing the tally to 8,90,596 and toll to 3,761.
The new infections spread over all 30 districts included 2,098 in quarantine and the rest 1,552 local contact cases. Worst-hit Khurda district witnessed a surge in cases as 604 people tested positive against 499 a day before. Fresh cases also rose in Cuttack (485), Jajpur (332) and Balasore (278).
The maximum nine deaths were reported from Khurda district and five each from Bargarh and Cuttack. As many as 69,480 tests, including 24,449 through RT-PCR were conducted on Wednesday with a test positivity rate (TPR) of 5.25 pc.
The surge in cases has prompted the State government to step up measures. Based on the positivity rate, the districts have been divided into three categories. While Jajpur, Khurda and Puri with a TPR of more than 10 pc have been categorised as high risk districts and 11 districts with a TPR of five pc to 10 pc as moderate risk, the rest 16 districts with less than five pc TPR have been classified under low risk category.
Additional Chief Secretary of Health PK Mohapatra said the districts with a TPR of less than five pc have been directed to adopt calibrated approach while relaxing of restrictions and focus on adherence to Covid appropriate behavior, test, track, treat and vaccination.
“Officials have been asked to set up / redesign appropriate Covid dedicated healthcare infrastructure in peri-urban, rural and tribal areas apart from ensuring adequate human resource and their orientation on clinical management protocol,” he added.
Effective containment measures
The state government has stressed on effective containment measures in areas reporting high cases on a continued basis. Collectors, Municipal Commissioners and CDMOs have been directed to ensure sufficient level of testing (both RT-PCR and RAT) in districts.
As the situation is dynamic, they have been asked to keep a close watch on early signs of a surge in active cases or high positivity rates and intensify effective community engagement for enforcement of Covid appropriate behaviour by involving community representatives and local influencers.
“Effective mechanisms must be operationalised at district and sub-divisional levels to ensure that whenever cases and positivity show a surge, local containment measures are initiated promptly,” stated an order issued by the health department.
The district officials have also been instructed to monitor Covid vaccination on a regular basis and ensure that all priority age groups are covered.