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Covid-19 hospitalisations inch up in Delhi, Capital adds 425 new infections

Hospitalisations due to the coronavirus disease in the Delhi have increased over the past few weeks, concurrent with the rise in the number of daily infections in the city, with 659 people admitted to facilities in the city as on Tuesday, showed government data
By Anonna Dutt, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 16, 2021 11:59 PM IST

Hospitalisations due to the coronavirus disease in the Delhi have increased over the past few weeks, concurrent with the rise in the number of daily infections in the city, with 659 people admitted to facilities in the city as on Tuesday, showed government data.

On average, 559 patients a day were being treated in hospitals in March for Covid-19, as compared to 483 in February.

However, to be sure, most beds reserved for the treatment of the infection are still vacant. Currently, there are 5,700 beds earmarked for Covid-19 treatment in hospitals across the city.

“There are more patients with Covid-19 admitted to the hospital compared to a month ago. The numbers started increasing about two weeks back, but are within control. The main reason for the increase seems to be the laxity among people in following Covid-19 norms — nobody is wearing masks, those who have been vaccinated do not follow protocols as they think they will not get the infection. Weddings have become grounds for spreading the infection — with some cases where many in the wedding party contracted the infection,” said Dr Rommel Tickoo, director of internal medicine, at Max Healthcare.

Dr Tickoo warned that Holi, due to be celebrated on March 29, is a cause of concern, with the risk of the infection spreading rapidly in large gatherings. “However, I think Delhi is unlikely to see a huge surge in cases because a huge proportion of the population has already been exposed to the infection,” he said.

Delhi also recorded 425 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, continuing the increasing trend in the number of viral infections after a slight dip over the weekend when fewer tests were conducted. This is the fifth day this month that over 400 cases were reported, according to daily data provided by the Delhi government.

With over 70,000 tests conducted, the city’s positivity rate — proportion of samples that return positive among total tested — at 0.61%. This is the highest positivity rate since the second week of January, two weeks after it dipped consistently below 1% for the first time in Delhi. The positivity rate is indicative of the spread of the infection.

Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain had on Monday said authorities were working on keeping the infection in check. One of the measures was to increase the number of tests conducted, which went up to nearly 69,700 tests a day during the last seven days from 64,700 the week before and 59,221 the week before that.

However, on Tuesday Delhi saw an increase in the number of the rapid antigen tests – which are cheap and quick but are known to throw up false negative reports for those who might have the infection. On Tuesday, only 56% of the tests were conducted using the more accurate RT-PCR test in comparison to 63.5% tests during the last seven days and 66% the week before that.

“Delhi needs to conduct as many tests as they have the capacity for so as to detect as many infections as possible. The RT-PCR test is preferable as it is more sensitive that the rapid antigen tests that miss out on positive cases. The government needs to track and test as many contacts of a positive case to ensure that the disease does not spread,” said Dr Lalit Kant, former head of the department of epidemiology at Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

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