CHENNAI: With over 4,000 fresh cases of Covid-19 being reported on Friday, Tamil Nadu crossed the 1 lakh-mark. The State’s tally currently stands at 1,02,721. Chennai recorded 2,082 cases and 33 deaths on Friday, said a bulletin issued by the Directorate of Public Health.
While Chennai’s adjoining districts also recorded a spike in fresh cases – Chengalpattu (330), Tiruvallur (172), and Kancheepuram (121) – the other significant spike came from Madurai (287), Theni (126), and Tiruvannamalai (151).
Of the 64 deaths reported on Friday, six people did not have comorbidities. Meanwhile, Dr Sugumar (53), chief medical officer at Maduranthakam Government Hospital, succumbed to Covid-19 at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital on Friday. He was the first government doctor to contract the virus in TN.
According to a health official, the doctor tested positive on June 19, and had initially sought treatment at a private hospital.
“He was shifted to RGGGH on June 30 after his condition deteriorated. He had diabetes and high blood pressure,” the official added. He said the doctor was on duty till June 17, before he developed symptoms.
It is suspected that he might have come in contact with a patient who came for some other treatment there, as the hospital did not handle Covid patients.
Condoling the death of Dr. Sugumaran, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Friday said, “Relief assistance will be given to the bereaved family as per the announcement already made by the government. Besides, government employment will be given to one of the family members. I have also directed the Health Department to extend all possible help to the doctor’s family.”
Opposition leader MK Stalin also condoled the doctor’s death. In a Facebook post, he urged that proper PPE and safety kits be provided to frontline workers.
What’s in a name? Story of a missing man
On Wednesday finally, the health inspector managed to track down the ambulance driver who had taken Adikesavan to hospital. Only then did it come to light that Adikesavan was not taken to the KMCH. He was, indeed, dropped off at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital.
Yet, when the officials checked records at RGGGH, they could not find Adikesavan’s name in there.
Later, CCTV visuals revealed rest of the story. The visuals showed the elderly man being dropped outside the hospital at 1.40 pm. He was made to wait in the queue with a form in hand.
After being tired of waiting there, he is seen walking off and sitting in the lawn near the compound wall. Later at 8.30 pm, he is seen leaving in the direction of the Central station.
“Many cameras along the route are not working properly, so we are yet to track his journey,” say police.
“Had we known earlier that he was at RGGGH and not KMCH, things would have been easier.” The excruciating wait continues, but now with some clues.
42,955 active cases
A total of 2,357 people were discharged following treatment on Friday in the State, of which 1,164 were in Chennai, said the bulletin.
The active cases currently in State, including those under isolation stood at 42,955, and a total of 35,028 samples were also tested on Friday, as per the bulletin.
The rapid increase in the number of cases has fuelled the government to ramp up bed facilities in government medical colleges and taluk hospitals across the State.
Health Minister C Vijayabaskar said, the State was working towards laying oxygen pipelines and installing oxygen boilers with a capacity of 40 kilo litres, in those hospitals.
This was being done as at least 30 per cent of people infected by the virus require oxygen support, either intermittently, or in high flow, the minister added.
‘Bury the doctor with full State honours’
Federation of Government Doctors’ Association requested the government to bury the doctor with State honours.
Government doctors also requested the State to ensure safety of those at the forefront, and expressed concern over many of them contracting the virus.