PUDUCHERRY: Thirty people have died of COVID-19 in the past three days here, setting alarm bells ringing in the Union territory. The deceased included several younger people aged between 25 and 50. Though initially, the death toll was below five per day, now it has risen to double digits daily.
Puducherry logged 747 fresh COVID-19 cases and 10 deaths in the last 24 hours taking the overall tally in the Union territory to 54,026 and pushing the total death toll to 758. The fatality and recovery rates were 1.40 per cent and 84.70 per cent respectively. Most of the deaths are in Puducherry region.
The health department stated that there is no dearth of beds or facilities to extend treatment in hospitals in Puducherry. There are still 300 vacant beds available for people in hospitals with oxygen, ventilators, equipment, drugs including remdesivir, while on the other hand the government is making arrangements for more beds, establishing oxygen plants, getting more medicines and equipment, said Puducherry Health Secretary T Arun.
But the delay in taking RT-PCR tests after onset of symptoms and late arrival to hospitals is causing the fatalities, he said. He appealed to people to immediately go for testing once they have any symptoms of COVID-19.
People are ignoring symptoms and not taking tests, though facilities for testing are available in all primary health centres, he said. Citing an example, he said a 33-year-old man from Thirubuvanai ignored the symptoms of COVID-19 and did not take the test. Only after a week or so, when he developed breathing difficulties, his family took him to a clinic from where he was referred to a COVID hospital. By them his oxygen saturation depleted to 85. He was put on oxygen support, but with oxygen levels further dipping, he was taken to the ICU, where he succumbed. Only after his death was he detected to be COVID-positive, he said.
Several persons are being brought dead to hospitals, while some arrive at the 11th hour, whose lives could not be saved. They die within a day or two of the admission, said the Health Secretary.
Some people don't bother to take tests and continue working and this is spreading the infection among their family members as well as the public, resulting in the deaths of vulnerable people. Livelihood concerns also make people shy away from going in for testing. Some employees working in offices continue to work, fearing a cut in salary or loss of job and in the process spread the infection to their colleagues, sources said.
Puducherry Lt Governor Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan has appealed to people seeking their cooperation in fighting COVID-19. She advised people to wear masks, maintain social distancing, sanitise their hands, and inoculate themselves against COVID-19.