On Wednesday, the state’s cumulative Covid-19 tally stood at 26,808 of which 5,365 are active cases. The coronavirus toll has mounted to 390. In the first week of November alone, the state saw more than 4,000 people testing positive.(HT file photo)
On Wednesday, the state’s cumulative Covid-19 tally stood at 26,808 of which 5,365 are active cases. The coronavirus toll has mounted to 390. In the first week of November alone, the state saw more than 4,000 people testing positive.(HT file photo)

Himachal steps up health infra after spike in Covid cases

In the first week of November alone, the state saw more than 4,000 people testing positive, while its total coronavirus tally stands at 26,808; maximum cases reported from Mandi district.
By Gaurav Bisht | Hindustan Times, Shimla
UPDATED ON NOV 11, 2020 12:03 PM IST

The spike in Covid-19 cases across Himachal Pradesh, particularly in the state capital of Shimla, over the past week has set alarm bells ringing for the government, which had unlocked almost all activities in phases.

Besides closing down educational institutions till November 25 to break the chain of new infections, the state government has now directed hospitals to ready more beds for coronavirus patients as it fears a rise with the arrival of winter.

On Wednesday, the state’s cumulative Covid-19 tally stood at 26,808 of which 5,365 are active cases. The coronavirus toll has mounted to 390. In the first week of November alone, the state saw more than 4,000 people testing positive.

Mandi is the worst-hit district where the number of positive cases is 4,044, which is 15% of the total cases in the state. The district has 1,129 active cases, the highest in the state. Mandi is followed by Solan with 3,886 cases and Kangra with 3,490 positive patients.

COVID WARDS PACKED TO CAPACITY

“The number of beds for Covid-19 patients has been increased by 25 at the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital and by 40 at the Indira Gandhi Medical College in Shimla. Makeshift hospitals are also being set up in Shimla, Tanda and the Lal Bahadur Shastri Medical College in Mandi,” says state health secretary Amitabh Awasthi.

The government has directed increasing non-ventilator intensive care unit (ICU) beds at the medical college in Mandi besides the Dr Rajendra Prasad Medical College Hospital, Tanda, and IGMC, Shimla.

The isolation ward at IGMC is already full to capacity. All 85 beds for coronavirus patients are occupied and the hospital has no space to accommodate more cases. Seventy patients in the hospital are on oxygen support, while the isolation ward at Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital with 90 beds is nearing capacity, too.

WEDDINGS, APPLE BELT NEW HOTSPOTS

Besides the opening of schools, the spurt in cases is being attributed to gatherings at weddings.

Wedding ceremonies have emerged as hotspots, particularly in Mandi, Kullu and Shimla districts.

Rural parts of the state are also in the Covid grip. Shimla’s affluent apple belt of Kotgarh, Kumarsain, Jubbal, Kotkhai, Rohru and Rampur are among the worst-hit places. Officials say people here have not been adhering to social distancing norms. Twenty-six positive cases have been reported from Rampur Bushar, 31 from Jubbal and Kotkhai last week alone.

A total of 121 people tested positive in Shimla district, while seven of them died in hospitals in the state capital during the week.

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