BHUBANESWAR: Odisha on Sunday witnessed a big spike in new Covid-19 cases with 346 people testing positive for the virus in the last 24 hours. While the infections went up by nearly 50 per cent (pc) during the period, it was the highest surge in over four months. The State had logged 428 cases on February 22 when the third wave was receding.
Of the fresh cases detected from 12,897 tests in 18 districts, the maximum 202 cases were from quarantine and 144 local contacts. The test positivity rate (TPR) shot up to 2.68 per cent from 1.7 per centin a day. The TPR rose to 9.91 per cent in Khurda, 5.22 per centin Cuttack, 2.99 pc in Sambalpur, and 2.23 per centin Sundargarh. The active cases in the State have gone up to 1,310.
The number of infections jumped by 100 pc in Khurda in 24 hours as the district recorded 189 cases, of which 90 pc were from the Capital city Bhubaneswar, followed by 51 from Cuttack, 13 from Sundargarh, seven each from Balasore, Jagatsinghpur and Nuapada and five each from Rayagada and Sambalpur.
Although Puri reported four cases, health experts fear the pilgrim town that witnessed a congregation of lakhs of devotees on the occasion of Rath Yatra on July 1 may see a spike in the coming days. Not only in Puri, large congregations of devotees and visitors were also seen in districts like Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Koraput, Kendrapara and Keonjhar for the annual Car festival.
Anticipating a surge in cases, the State government has kept Covid beds with oxygen supply ready in most of the district headquarters. Health authorities said they are keeping a close watch on the rising trend and initiating measures as appropriate.
Director of Health Services Dr Bijay Mohapatra said the infections are mostly urban-centric and the disease severity is less among the patients as less than one pc people is hospitalised.“The second half of July is crucial as cases may arise due to the festival. But, we are ready to tackle any exigencies,” he added.