Representational image. | Image Courtesy: The Hindu
Karnataka reported its highest single-day spike of 2,062 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, and a record 54 related fatalities, taking the total number of infections to 28,877, and the death toll to 470 in the state.
Out of the fresh cases reported on Wednesday, a whopping 1,148 cases were from Bengaluru urban alone, while among the 54 deaths, 22 were from the capital city. A total of 778 patients were discharged after recovering from the disease the same day.
Karnataka’s previous highest single-day spike was recorded on July 5, with 1,925 cases.
As of July 8, a total of 28,877 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the state, which includes 470 deaths and 11,876 discharges, the health department said in its bulletin. It said that out of 16,527 active cases, 16,075 patients are in isolation at designated hospitals and stable, while 452 are in Intensive Care Units (ICU).
Those that have died include – 22 from Bengaluru urban, seven from Dharwad, four from Ballari, three each from Hassan and Raichur, two each from Ramanagara, Chikkaballapura, Vijayapura, Tumakuru, Mysuru, and one each from Bidar, Dakshina Kannada, Kalaburagi, Chikkamagaluru and Bengaluru rural. The deceased include 37 men and 17 women. Most of the dead either had a history of Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI) or Influenza-like illness (ILI).
Out of the 2,062 cases which tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, the contacts of the majority of the cases are still being traced.
Read more: Six Months of Pandemic: What Science Still Strives to Solve
Among the districts where the new cases were reported, Bengaluru urban accounted for 1,148 cases, followed by Dakshina Kannada at 183, Dharwad at 89, Kalaburagi 66, fifty nine each from Ballari and Mysuru, Bengaluru rural 37, Ramanagara 34, Chikkaballapura 32, 31 each from Udupi and Haveri, Bidar 29, Belagavi 27, Hassan 26, and 24 each from Bagalkote and Tumakuru. While Chikkamagaluru reported 23 cases, it was 20 in Mandya, Uttara Kannada 19, Davangere 18, 17 each from Raichur and Shivamogga, Kolar 16, 11 each from Yadgir and Koppal, Gadag five, Vijayapura four, and Chitradurga two.
Bengaluru urban district tops the list of positive cases with 12,509 infections. It is followed by Kalaburagi at 1,816 cases and Dakshina Kannada with 1,534 cases.
On Wednesday, Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar said that the state government had anticipated the early July surge of the novel coronavirus in the state.
However, the state is facing a shortage of healthcare professionals, including doctors. According to reports, the state is planning on introducing robots to monitor asymptomatic and mild cases at the 10,100-bed COVID Care Centre which is yet to be come up at Bangalore International Exhibition Centre.
On July 7, state Health Minister B. Sriramulu said that there was no community spread so far. "There is no community spread so far, I am making it very clear. We are still in between the second and the third stage; we haven't reached the third stage yet,” he said.
A total of 7,59,181 samples have been tested in the state so far, out of which 19,134 were tested on Wednesday alone. According to the bulletin, 7,11,319 samples have been reported negative for COVID-19.
ASHA Workers to Boycott Work
The Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA), who have been playing a major role during the COVID-19 pandemic, have warned the government that they will boycott work across Karnataka from July 10 as they have not been provided with sufficient protective gear.
ASHA workers across the state have been demanding the state government to provide them with a monthly wage of Rs 12,000, including their current additional incentives. They also demanded that all ASHA workers be tested for COVID-19 and that those who tested positive be treated.
Recently, the Union health ministry praised ASHA workers for actively participating in COVID-19 household surveys in Karnataka and for screening inter-state passengers, migrant workers, and others in the community for symptoms of COVID-19.
“Recognizing the increased vulnerability of certain population groups to COVID-19, in a one-time survey to identify households with the elderly, persons with co-morbidities, and immune-compromised individuals, about 1.59 crore households were covered,” the ministry said in a statement.
However, mere praise does not seem to be enough, with the workers not getting PPE kits and an honorarium. The workers are still waiting for safety equipment and the honorarium of Rs.1,000 which has been promised by the government.
Read More: "ASHA Workers are in Forefront of Fighting COVID-19 but are Denied Facilities"
“The government has not provided enough Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kit, mask, sanitisers, and any other protection. From the past five months, we are working day and night, the central government has announced a fixed honorarium of Rs.1,000 for ASHAs performing COVID-related duties, which we have not received,” said Nagalakshmi D, Secretary of Karnataka State Samyukta ASHA Workers’ Association.
So far, two ASHA workers have lost their lives to COVID-19 in the state and many have been infected with the virus. Across the country 20 ASHA workers have succumbed to the disease.
“Many ASHA workers have been infected with COVID-19 as they are frontline workers and visiting various places to conduct surveys without safety equipment. One ASHA worker from Kalaburagi and one from Yadgir district died of coronavirus infection,” K. Somashekhar Yadagiri, State President of Karnataka State Samyukta ASHA Workers’ Association told The Indian Express.
(With Inputs from PTI)