Covid infections in Himachal see 168% increase in a week
Coronavirus cases in Himachal, which had plateaued out in January, have registered a steep increase yet again with as many as 389 new infections being recorded in the last week of the February and on the first day of March, an increase of 168.2% as compared to the penultimate week of the February when 145 cases were reported.
The epicenter of the spike is a Dharamshala based Gyuto Tantric Monastery where 106 monks have been tested positive in five days. The monastery, which was exile home to spiritual leader 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje before he shifted to US two years ago, has been declared a containment zone since February 25, when the first infections were reported. All the infected monks have been home isolated
The monastery is home to 350 monks and staff.
Meanwhile in the wake of the spike, the health department has put district authorities and medical colleges on the alert. Officials have been instructed to increase sampling and chief medical officers are to report to state authorities on a daily basis. With schools, colleges and other educational institutions opening across the state, there is a possibility that the case count may further increase.
The state on Monday recorded 132 new infections taking the state’s tally to 58,777 while the death toll reached 983 after one more patient succumbed to the contagion.
Of the new cases, 108 cases were reported in Kangra, of which 98 were Buddhist monks of Gyuto Monastery. Six cases have been reported in Shimla, five in Una, four in Chamba, three in Kullu, two each in Bilaspur and Solan and one each in Mandi and Sirmaur.
SPIKE IN ACTIVE CASES
The surge in fresh cases has also led to a corresponding increase in the number of active cases, which have reached 434. The number was down to 227 on February 22, indicating a 92% increase in cases in one week.
At present, Kangra is the worst affected with 219 active cases followed by 58 in Shimla, 36 in Solan and 33 in Sirmaur.
Health secretary Amitabh Awasthi attributes the rise to people lowering precautions and not wearing masks. They are also not following social distancing norms.
“We have asked medical college authorities and the chief medical officers to be cautious. The number of infection is also increasing in neighbouring states, which may also affect Himachal,” he said.