The number of SARS-CoV-2 infections in Tamil Nadu has seen a marginal dip over the past one week. The focus has now shifted to other districts in the state as the number of cases from Chennai has seen a drop. The total number of positive cases in the state have increased to 1,26,581 as of July 9.
The number of cases in the southern districts of the state including Madurai, Thoothukudi and Kanyakumari has witnessed a continuous spurt, with the number of cases in Madurai crossing the 5,000 mark. Meanwhile, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami has rejected the possibility of extending the lockdown across the state.
The Ministers for electricity and co-operation in the government of Tamil Nadu have become the latest high-profile persons to contract the infection. The Raj Nivas in the Union Territory of Puducherry was closed down for two days after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.
Testing and Number of Discharges Increase
The state recorded 28,189 cases in the week ending July 9, registering only a marginal increase from the 27,415 COVID-19 cases in the previous week. However, fatalities continue to increase with an addition of 444 deaths, taking the death toll in the state to 1,765. The recovery rate in the state is at 61%, with 78,161 persons discharged, while the number of cases reported on a daily basis was between 3,600 and 4,300.
Infections among children below the age of 12 increased to 6,277, while 15,334 persons above the age of 60 were found COVID-19 positive. The death of a 25-day-old baby was among the 65 deaths reported in the state on July 9. The total number of samples tested in the week was 2,55,909, with the highest number of samples tested in a single day at 42,369, on July 9.
The Minister for Electricity, P. Thangamani, and Minister for Co-operation, Sellur K. Raju, have both tested positive for COVID-19. Both the ministers were admitted to private hospitals in Chennai for treatment. The Minister for Higher Education, K.P. Anbalagan is already undergoing treatment for the infection. A total of 11 members of the assembly, including ministers, have contracted the infection.
Worrying Trends in Southern Districts
The number of COVID-19 cases in other districts of the state stood at 17,125, against the 12,759 cases recorded over the previous week. Districts including Madurai, Thoothukudi and Kanyakumari have seen a spike in the daily cases that have been reported.
Protests erupted in Kanyakumari Medical College and Hospital on July 4 after a prolonged delay in supplying food to patients in the COVID-19 ward. In Terespuram in Thoothukudi district, residents held a protest against taking COVID-19 patients to hospitals and demanded home isolation instead.
Madurai has accounted for 5,299 cases so far, and is next to Chennai and above the likes of Chengalpattu and Thiruvallur. The district has also had 95 deaths, with 86 deaths recorded when the district had 5,000 cases. The number is double the number of deaths recorded in Chennai for the same number of cases.
Its Member of Parliament, S. Venkatesan, has written a letter to the Chief Minister on the high fatality rate in the district and sought immediate attention for improving facilities in the district.
In Nilgiris district, 103 individuals contracted the infection from the employee of a private company, while 26 were infected by someone who had returned from Maharashtra and was in Vellore district. Negligence on the part of individuals and the health department are said to be the reason for the spread of the coronavirus.
Relief for Chennai as Cases Drop
The number of COVID-19 cases from the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) has witnessed a sharp drop in positive cases.
The recent lockdown is reported to have been the reason behind the decline in the number of cases. However, with the lockdown relaxed, experts say that it is too early to claim success. With the city not under a lockdown now, the extensive tracking of cases is necessary to reduce the further spread of infections.
The city recorded less than 2,000 cases in the past six consecutive days, reporting 2,082 cases on June 3. The one-week period added 11,064 cases against 14,656 cases from the previous week. The number of fatalities remained high though, with the tally shooting up to 1,169 at a mortality rate of 1.59%.
Even as the number of cases has decreased, new clusters have evolved in the GCC. The number of cases in Tondiarpet, Royapuram and Thiru. Vi. Ka Nagar have decreased, but more cases are being reported from Adayar, Ambattur, Sholinganallur, Alandur and Valasaravakkam. What is worrying is the lower doubling time in these zones as compared to other zones of the corporation as of July 6.
Front-Line Workers Continue to Get Affected
Infection among the front-line workers is on an increase in the state. Many doctors and healthcare workers continue to test positive in several districts, including government doctors in Chennai. Doctors on non-COVID duty have also tested positive, signalling the high possibility of community spread.
Around 25 inmates of the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) have tested positive for COVID-19. Most of the patients are from Ward 9 of the IMH. Many post-graduate students deputed for COVID-19 treatment in other hospitals have also tested positive. The source of infection, however, is yet to be identified.
The Superintendent of Police of the Sivagangai district has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The number of police personnel in Chennai who have contracted the infection has increased to 1,317. After a sustained struggle amid the pandemic, the sanitation workers of GCC have won the fight to have themselves tested for the viral infection.
The Red Flag union boycotted work on July 9 in Zone 15 of the GCC against the discourteous treatment meted out to many workers from police personnel. The union has been accusing the public and the police department of the exploitation of sanitation workers even as they fight the pandemic.