21 people test Covid-19 positive in Jharkhand village in 2 days as state fears threat due to variants
The Haradag Khurd village in Garhwa district, Jharkhand has been put on high alert after 21 people tested positive for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in two days after migrant workers returned to the village from Madhya Pradesh. Health officials from the state said that 19 people were found with the infection initially while two more cases were found later.
All 21 infected people, including eight children between two and 12 years of age, have been admitted to the Sadar hospital in Garhwa, news agency PTI reported citing state officials. Also, all contacts of the patients have been identified and isolated, the officials further said.
A single worker, among the many who returned from a colliery area in Madhya Pradesh, was initially found positive for Covid-19. It is suspected that the villagers might have contracted the infection from the worker. Also, the Delta variant of the virus has been detected in the region in MP from where the workers had returned.
Meanwhile, the state’s additional chief secretary of health Arun Kumar Singh said that the administration was taking all possible steps to contain the spread. He further said that all officials in the area were kept on high alert following the outbreak.
"Initially 19 villagers were found positive. All of them have been admitted to Garhwa Sadar hospital. We are taking all possible steps to contain the spread of the virus and have kept officials on high alert in the area," PTI quoted Singh as saying on Friday. Following this, the civil surgeon of Garhwa Dr Kamlesh Kumar confirmed that two more people tested positive for the disease.
Meanwhile, the state itself reported 27 new single-day infections on Thursday as the total confirmed cases so far reached 347,049, PTI reported citing a daily bulletin from the health department. Also, one person succumbed to the illness in the last 24 hours as the death toll climbed to 5,126. The sudden detection of 21 new cases in a short span of two days has raised concerns among health officials as the state has been witnessing a lesser number of daily cases in the past few days.
“Our surveillance team is visiting villages and we are taking all possible steps to contain the spread...Special precautions are taken in the village Haradag Khurd with a population of about 300 villagers,” deputy commissioner of Garhwa Rajesh Kumar Pathak said.
Dr Kumar said that the sample of the first villager testing positive in the village was collected during a routine sample collection at a railway station. “The health machinery swung into action and 25 persons including all his family members were subjected to tests along with two other families with whom he interacted,” he then said. Out of these samples, 20 other people tested positive, he added. State officials said that the samples would be sent to the Regional Genome Sequencing Laboratory (RGSL), Institute of Life Sciences (ILS) in Bhubaneswar for genomic sequencing as the state presently does not have the machinery for sequencing.
According to data from the government, 194 out of the 328 positive cases last month were due to the B.1.617.2 or the Delta variant while the Alpha and the Kappa variants accounted for 29 samples each.