BHUBANESWAR: The rise in new Covid-19 cases for the second consecutive day has promoted Odisha government to rope in PRI members to monitor and sensitise people returning from high risk states that have been witnessing a resurgence of infection.
The State recorded 120 fresh cases from 22 districts. While 71 were detected from quarantine, 49 detected during contact tracing. Cuttack topped the list with maximum 26 cases followed by Sundargarh (16), Mayurbhanj (15), Khurda (14) and Sambalpur (10).
Stating that the infection in upward spiral is not a good sign, Special Relief Commissioner PK Jena warned that the frisking and enforcement of Covid guidelines will be stricter if people do not adhere to properly.
“The collectors have been directed to ensure strict enforcement and monitor the movement of returnees, especially from affected states. PRI members, sarpanchs, ASHA and anganwadi workers have been asked to sensitise the returnees to follow the guidelines. They will share data of returnees and keep a vigil,” he said.
What has pressed the panic button is that two new clusters have emerged from Cuttack in two days and 17 of the 26 new cases detected in the city are students and staff of a private school.
Though it is suspected that the infection in one of the two educational institutions spread from a student from Puducherry who was admitted to SCB MCH after testing positive, health officials claimed that contact tracing is on to ascertain the source of infection.
“Samples of nine students have been collected and sent for genome sequencing to find out whether they are carrying any new strain,” said Additional Chief Secretary of Health PK Mohapatra.
While no new cases have been detected from eight districts, there is no active case in Gajapati, Malkangiri and Boudh districts. Of the total 3,38,719 confirmed cases so far, 3,36,066 have recovered. The active cases stands at 682.
Meanwhile, Mohapatra has urged the Union Health Secretary to send 25 lakh Covishield vaccine doses as soon as possible to enable the State to continue vaccination uninterruptedly.
The State was supplied with 25 lakh doses of both Covishield and Covaxin. While over 17.84 lakh doses have been administered so far, the available stock of vaccines will last for a week.
“Though we have been assured to receive 3.7 lakh doses by March 23, we have urged the Centre to supply as per demand so that we will be able to schedule sessions in advance for at least 15 days,” he added.
Samples sent to ILS for genome sequencing
A day after 17 teaching and non-teaching staff of a private educational institution tested positive for coronavirus, a team of health officials from Microbiology department of SCB Medical College and Hospital on Saturday rushed to the institute and collected nine samples from the infected persons for genome sequencing.
Since the institution is being run by a spiritual organisation and devotees from Puducherry and different parts of country used to visit the ‘Samadhi Peeth’ on its premises, it was decided to go for genome sequencing to ascertain whether they carry any evolved or virulent strains, said City Health Officer Satyabrat Mohapatra. All the samples have been sent to Institute of Life Science (ILS), Bhubaneswar.
“We have also summoned 30 other teaching and non-teaching staff of the institution to undergo Covid test. Contact tracing of all the 17 infected staff is on and is expected to be completed by Sunday,” said Mohapatra.
While all the infected staff are asymptomatic and have been isolated inside the institution’s hostel, the civic body’s rapid response team is closely monitoring their health condition, he said. On Saturday, five fresh cases have been detected from the city.
State recorded 120 fresh cases from 22 districts
While 71 were detected from quarantine, 49 detected during contact tracing
Cuttack topped the list with maximum 26 cases
Two new clusters emerged from Cuttack in two days