Odisha reports first suspected Omicron death

The deceased, a 45-year-old woman from the Balangir district, had succumbed while undergoing treatment at VIMSAR in Burla.

Published: 06th January 2022 02:58 PM  |   Last Updated: 06th January 2022 06:52 PM   |  A+A-

Covid sample, Covid test

Image used for representational purpose only. (Photo | AP)

Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: Amid the rapid rise in new Covid cases, a 45-year-old woman who tested positive for Omicron died in Odisha on Thursday.

The deceased, who hailed from the Balangir district, had succumbed while undergoing treatment at Veer Surendra Sai Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (VIMSAR) in Burla on December 27. Her genome sequencing result came on Wednesday.

Sources said, the woman, a resident of the Agalpur area, was admitted to Bhima Bhoi Medical College and Hospital in Balangir on December 20 after she suffered from a brain stroke.

She was shifted to VIMSAR after her condition deteriorated. She tested positive for Covid-19 on December 23 and her sample was sent to the Institute of Life Sciences at Bhubaneswar for genome sequencing. But before the sequencing result came, she died.

Balangir Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO) Dr Snehalata Sahu said the woman had tested positive for Omicron. "But we cannot say whether she succumbed to Covid or died of a stroke. Further clinical investigation is on," she said.

A team of healthcare workers rushed to the woman’s village on Thursday for contact tracing. Swab samples of her family members and other contacts were collected.

Sources said though the woman tested positive for Covid-19 on December 23, her sample was not immediately sent for sequencing as she was not a foreign returnee. Her genome sequencing was conducted as part of surveillance.

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It is also yet to be ascertained whether the woman was infected before getting admitted in VIMSAR or she contracted the infection during her stay in the hospital where a couple of foreign returnees were undergoing treatment for Covid.

"If the death is clinically proved due to Covid, it will be the first Omicron related death in the country. The death of a 73-year-old man from Rajasthan is now considered to be the first Omicron related death. He had died on December 31," sources said.

Director of Health Services Dr Bijay Mohapatra said Balangir CDMO has been asked to send a detailed report mentioning the sequence of events and the treatment details of the woman. He, however, confirmed that the woman tested positive for Omicron. But the cause of death can be ascertained after a proper audit, he added.

Meanwhile, Odisha reported 1897 new Covid cases, the highest single-day spike in over five months. The fresh cases went up by 56 per cent (pc) over the previous day.

The new infections included 258 of 0-18 years age group. The test positivity rate (TPR) also rose to 2.62 pc from 1.8 pc a day before. As many as 72,370 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours.

Five districts recorded 100 or more cases pushing the active cases to 5839. With 669 cases Khurda district contributed around 35 pc of the caseload, followed by 262 from Sundargarh, 148 from Cuttack, 125 from Sambalpur and 100 from Balasore. 

The Covid tally soared to 10,59,773 of which 10,45,514 have recovered and 8467 succumbed to the disease so far.

"The cases are now being reported from all districts, which means Omicron has spread its tentacles across the State. Infections will rise further in the coming days. We will step up testing. The ICMR has approved new kits for Omicron testing. The State government will soon get the kits for faster testing," the Health Director added.


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