Surge in Covid-19 cases in Haryana amid festive season
Haryana is seeing a new surge in Covid-19 cases with the state reporting 2,305 more infections last week as compared to the week before. The spike between October 26 and November 1 comes after a five-week decline in the infection rate.
Though the 10,576 fresh infections reported last week were way below the all-time high of 17,616 infections reported in the second week of September when the virus spread was at its peak, health officials fear a gradual surge in numbers in the coming weeks.
Additional chief secretary (ACS), health, Rajeev Arora said at present the surge is concentrated in districts bordering Delhi but there are concerns that the virus may spread to other parts by November-end. “It is according to our projections. We anticipated a surge during the festival season since there is a tendency of people to lower their guard and shun safety measures during festivities. Further, the resumption of activities such as the opening of schools, colleges, cinemas, multiplexes, entertainment parks, allowing social, religious and political congregations are also factors that contribute towards increasing the spread,” the ACS said.
Districts in Delhi’s neighbourhood worst affected
Four national capital region (NCR) districts abutting Delhi – Gurugram, Faridabad, Sonepat and Rohtak – contributed 53% of the 10,576 new infections reported last week. In fact, Gurugram (2,912) and Faridabad (1,692) alone accounted for 43% of the new infections.
Hisar, a district in the north-western part of the state also reported a sizeable 1,160 new infections, primarily due to it being a commercial hub. “Once the numbers start increasing in Delhi, the bordering districts also see a spike because of inter-state movement of men and material,” health officials said.
Dr Dhruva Chaudhary, the nodal officer for Covid-19 in the state, said that a surge is expected in winter due to the opening up of educational institutions, increase in air pollution and festival season.
RT-PCR sampling picks up
Statistics show that the health authorities have stepped up the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests, considered the gold standard test for detecting new infections and reduced the rapid antigen tests (RAT) significantly.
While the total number of samples tested last week was less than the week before, the number of RT-PCR tests done was stepped up by 16,500. Also, only 29,787 rapid antigen tests were done last week as compared to 48,653 the week before, a decrease of over 18,000.
The last time the RT-PCR testing was conducted at this intensity was in mid-September.
“We are ramping up the RT-PCR testing again. The RAT will be significantly reduced. Civil surgeons have been directed to organise sampling camps for two weeks. Crowded areas, markets, slums and the vulnerable groups such as frequent travellers will be the focus of our stepped-up testing,” the ACS said.
Nine districts have less than 1% fatality rate
While the infections have started increasing, health officials say the case fatality rate in the state was low at 1.1% last week. In fact, nine districts – Gurugram, Faridabad, Charkhi Dadri, Jhajjar, Mahendergarh, Palwal, Rewari, Rohtak and Sonepat – have either 1% or less fatality rate, a desirable value as per the Union health ministry’s parameters. None of the remaining 13 districts have shown critical value of more than 6% fatality rate so far.