30 local Covid-19 cases in a day trigger concerns in Odisha, experts claim community transmission has begun
The state health department officials had last week denied community transmission of coronavirus disease Covid-19 in Odisha.Updated: Jun 18, 2020 10:38 IST
For the second time in last 16 days, Odisha reported 30 local Covid-19 cases (people outside quarantine centre), the highest so far, giving rise to fears of community transmission. In May, there were very few local cases.
Of the 175 infections detected in the state on Wednesday, 30 were local cases taking the total number to 242. This is 11 per cent of the 2,234 cases between June 1 and June 16. On June 2, the state had reported 31 local cases.
While 150-180 cases on an average are being detected everyday in the state, the rising nuymber of local cases has led epidemiologists to believe that community transmission may have started.
“There is little doubt that community transmission has started in Odisha. the government is not ready to admit it as it would create panic. We are reaching a stage when contact tracing has little relevance. We should now test more and focus on social distancing and use of masks,” said an epidemiologist of a government hospital, refusing to be quoted.
The epidemiologist said that the number of Covid-19 cases would go up only if the state tested more from the current numbers of less than 3,000 samples a day. “We had set a target of 15,000 samples this month. But the machines in some of our labs are still waiting to be repaired. So there is little way of knowing about community transmission,” he added.
However, the state health officials had last week denied community transmission.
Meanwhile, the state government today announced setting up of Covid-19 care home facilities in every panchayat where 10 to 20 people with symptoms like cold, cough and fever can be accommodated. Chief minister Naveen Patnaik said that those with these symptoms will be taken to these care homes first and shifted to dedicated Covid-19 hospitals if found positive.
The sarpanches will be in charge of the management of these care homes.