Tamil Nadu continues to record COVID-19 cases in high numbers even as the infections have reduced considerably in Chennai. The infections in southern districts continue to increase, with Madurai remaining one of the most affected. The total infections rose to 1,56,369 on July 16 with 46,714 persons under treatment.
The state government and the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) have planned a survey to understand the infection rate and the possibility of community spread of SARS-CoV-2.
DISCHARGES CROSS ONE LAKH
The state witnessed a high number of discharges this week with 29,255 discharges, taking the total to 1,07,416. In spite of increasing discharges, the number of mortalities is also on the rise with 471 deaths this week, taking the total casualties to 2,236. The previous seven-day period recorded 444 deaths.
The testing in the state remains one of the highest in the country with the highest number of samples, 45,888 tested on July 16. The same day recorded the highest single day spike with 4,549 cases, while more than 4,000 cases were reported from July 12. On July 16, thirteen districts reported more than 100 cases.
The total positive cases reported during the week were 29,744 compared to 28,189 in the previous week. The week also witnessed high profile cases including that of the Labour minister Dr Nilofer Khafeel and district collectors of Coimbatore and Kanchipuram districts.
The state government and the GCC separately have planned to conduct a COVID Sero survey to access the possibilities of community spread. The antibody test will be conducted in at least 25,000 people across the state, while 12,000 samples will be collected from the residents of GCC limits.
DROP IN CASES CONTINUE IN CHENNAI
The number of cases from the GCC continues to drop for the second consecutive week even as the total cases increased to 82,128. The tally of GCC in the state tally has reduced to 52% from 58% on July 9. The active cases have also come down to 15,038 while the number of casualties increased to 1,341. Four police personnel have succumbed to the infection so far in the city.
The number of cases did not breach the 1,300 mark in the last 10 consecutive days. The highest single day spike of 1,291 was reported on July 15.
The GCC has plans to isolate 15% of its employees based on the serology based screening test carried out. The employees are expected to take the confirmatory tests before being isolated and treated.
The effective reproduction number or the R-value has reduced to <1 in Chennai, indicating the spread is being contained in the city. The number of fever clinics and efficient tracing has helped in reducing the cases in the city.
CASES MOUNT IN SOUTH
The southern districts continue to pile up cases, with 21,520 positive cases till July 16, while the previous week recorded 17,125 cases. The Madurai district is feeling the impact of the spread, as it has accounted for 7,597 cases and 134 deaths. The district also reported 267 cases on July 16, while Thoothukudi, Kanyakumari, Virudhunagar and Tirunelveli reported 170, 146, 145 and 130, respectively.
The fever clinics conducted by the Madurai Corporation have helped in identifying the COVID-19 cases. A total of 1,636 positive cases have been identified through the samples collected between June 26 and July 13 from 10,197 samples.
The fever clinics and increased testing were ensured only after the protests of the elected representatives from the district. The Member of Parliament from Madurai, S Venkatesan led a protest in early June to increase the number of tests and establish more infrastructural facilities in hospitals.
YOGA, NATUROPATHY INCLUDED FOR COVID TREATMENT
The Government of Tamil Nadu after pushing Siddha treatment for COVID-19, has decided to include Yoga and Naturopathy now. The health minister announced that yoga asanas and pranayama are to be taught to the patients. The treatment is made available in government medical colleges, district headquarter hospitals and taluk hospitals.
Earlier, the state government had authorised Siddha treatment for COVID-19 positive patients, with two facilities in Chennai. The government’s move had an unlikely supporter in Indira Banerjee, the Supreme Court Justice as she endorsed Siddha treatment, during her tenure as Chief Justice of Madras High Court.
The Madras High Court on July 8, questioned the state and union governments for not considering the claims of a siddha doctor of finding a cure for the novel coronavirus. The scientific community has raised apprehensions about the outcome and warned against creating false hope among the public.
Also read: COVID-19: Southern Tamil Nadu in Focus after Surge, Cases Drop in Chennai