Coronavirus test positivity at 11.7% in Ghaziabad, the highest in nine months
The Covid-19 positivity rate of 11.7%, for the week ending January 12, is the highest in Ghaziabad district since April 2021 -- it was 17.34% for the week ending April 30 -- with the district continuing to report cases in large numbers daily, including on Wednesday when another set of 1,581 infections were added, the district health records showed.
The officials of the district health department said the upward trend indicates that the current wave of Covid-19 infections is fast approaching its peak and that may happen by the last week of January.
According to health records, the overall Covid-19 case count in the district is now 63,723, with the tally of active cases at 7,518. A total of 7,809 cases were reported in the month of January. Of the active cases, 23 patients are admitted to hospitals while the rest are recovering in home isolation, officials said.
According to the health department figures, during the week from December 23-29 last year, the district tested a total of 32,420 samples which returned 65 positive cases to give a positivity rate -- ratio of samples that test positive from among the total tested -- of about 0.2%. In the next week, from December 30 to January 5, 36,381 samples were tested of which 787 were positive for Covid-19. The positivity rate that week was 2.16%, the data showed.
In the latest week, from January 6-12, a total of 61,124 samples were tested of which 7,149 were positive for Covid. The large number of positive cases has spiked the test positivity rate to 11.7%, the highest rate since April 2021. In the week ending April 30, 2021, the positivity rate was 17.34%.
“The pattern of high positivity rate indicates that the cases are headed for a peak, which we estimate will happen by the end of January or the first week of February. Since cases have spiked suddenly, it is estimated that they will also decline sharply. Of the patients undergoing treatment in facilities, seven are requiring intermittent oxygen support,” said Dr Bhavtosh Shankhdhar, chief medical officer.
The Ghaziabad district saw its first infection peak in mid-September 2020, during the first wave, followed by another peak in April 2021, during the second and the mostly Covid wave. The positivity rate for the month of April 2021 was 9.12%, with 13,668 total cases, health records showed.
As a result of the current spike, the sample positivity rate for the month of January has already risen to 8.96%, the second highest monthly rate since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.
A district health official said they have conducted a total of 87,124 tests this January, which has resulted in 7,809 cases. The positivity rate of private labs is about 47.11%, while that of government labs is 3.31%, the official said, asking not to be named.
The official also said they expect a rise in the number of positive cases in the coming days as about 13,000 reports are still pending at different labs, including the one in Lucknow and the results may arrive in bulk.
“Since the spike in cases has led to more people coming in for testing, the influx has burdened our labs. So, we have sent samples to Lucknow for testing. The reports are pending and they will arrive soon. Despite the overload, we are trying to release results within 48 hours. Since the government has also revised the discharge criteria for home isolation patients from 10 days to seven days, we will be discharging about 480 patients soon, as per the new norms. So, our recovery rate will also improve,” said Dr RK Gupta, district surveillance officer.
According to health department figures, the recovery rate stood at 98.97% on December 31, 2021, and at 87.48% on January 12.
“The major advantage during this wave is that the severity of infection is low and it could be due to the high rate of sero prevalence and increased vaccination coverage. The present spike is more likely to be the result of the Omicron variant,” said Dr VB Jindal, former president, Indian Medical Association (Ghaziabad chapter).