New Delhi: The day after Kerala government confirmed community transmissions in two coastal hamlets in Thiruvananthapuram, the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state rose to 11,659, with 593 new cases on Saturday.
On Friday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan confirmed community transmission in two coastal hamlets- Poonthura and Pulluvila- and asked people to be extra vigilant
Of the 593 new cases on Saturday, 116 people had returned from abroad and 90 from other states. As in the past few days, the number of people infected through contact is high. Of the fresh cases, 19 are health workers. The state has reported 42 deaths so far.
The total number of cases on May 4 was 499 and only three deaths had been reported then. But after that, the number of cases in the state rose as many people started returning home from abroad and other states.
By and large, people have followed the guidelines of the health department as well as the ‘break the chain’ directions. But now, though the mortality rate is very low, transmission through contact is more than 60%, the chief minister said during his press conference on Saturday.
About 60% people have no symptoms. Experts have pointed out that asymptomatic patients need not be shifted to hospitals.
The first plasma bank in the state is already functional in Manjeri Medical College in Malappuram district. So far, plasma therapy has been successful in the state. In plasma therapy, the antibody from the plasma of people who have recovered from COVID-19 is collected and used to treat infected people. So far, over 50 people have donated plasma to the plasma bank and another 200 have expressed willingness to donate.
On Friday, Kerala reported the highest single-day spike of 791 new cases.
“The situation in Thiruvananthapuram is really serious. In two areas, Poonthura and Pulluvila, community transmission has happened” Vijayan said on Friday. He said in Poonthura when 50 people were tested randomly, 26 tested positive, while in Pulluvila, 28 out of the 57 tested were found positive.
Community transmission means that the disease is in its third stage and the source of its origin is not known. This implies that the virus is now present in the community and can infect people with no history -- either of travel or contact with infected people and areas. At this point, everyone is susceptible to catching the infection.
“The coastal belt is facing a dire situation with the disease spreading very fast. We need to mobilise all our resources to deal with the situation,” Vijayan said.
“The number of locally-transmitted cases is increasing by the day because of negligence on the part of people. Going by the trend, one assessment is that disease control can only be achieved by the end of this year,” he said.
There are 299 hotspots in the state as of Saturday.