At 17.5%, Ujjain has MP’s highest death rateUpdated: Apr 30, 2020 23:40 IST
Bhopal/Ujjain: Ujjain has recorded the highest death rate--17.51%--in Madhya Pradesh with 17 Covid-19 related fatalities there over the last seven days, according to the government data. Seven out of 76 Covid-19 patients had died in Ujjain until April 23 and every fourth patient has succumbed to the disease over the last seven days.
Ujjain, which is known for famous Mahakal Temple and hosts one of four Kumbh fairs every 12 years, had reported 137 Covid-19 cases as of Thursday and 24 fatalities. Indore, the worst-hit place in the state by the pandemic, had a death rate of 4.40 until Wednesday followed by Bhopal (2.89%). Madhya Pradesh, with 130 deaths, has a death rate of 4.88%. It is 3.19% nationally.
Officials said the government has now involved a private medical college’s laboratory in Ujjain for testing as a delay in getting reports is one of the reasons behind the high death rate in the district.
Ujjain’s first Covid-19 case came to light on March 25 after a woman tested positive for the disease after her death. It had reported just six cases until March 31 and two deaths. On April 15, Ujjain had 30 Covid-19 patients and six fatalities. The number of cases rose after April 22 and so did the deaths.
A health department official, who did not wish to be named, said the situation was alarming right from the beginning when five members of the family of the first patient were found infected. “Ujjain’s situation was similar to that of Indore. The hotspots were identified early and the administration thought the situation could be controlled with the lockdown and curfew restrictions.”
The official said there was hence no focus on surveys, screening and collection of samples. “The state government did not pay attention to the problem... [it did not] upgrade any lab here for Covid testing. The administration in Ujjain heavily relied on labs in Indore and Bhopal, which were already overburdened... The result was the reports were delayed by 10 to 15 days. In between, the administration also sent samples to labs in Pune, Ahmedabad and certain other centres but it hardly helped.”
HP Sonaniya, the nodal officer for Covid-19, said about 90% of the patients who have died were suffering from other diseases. “Only two to three young patients have died. The rest were above 60. There were at least seven to eight who died within two hours of their admission to hospital as they were admitted in a very serious conditions. Also, seven to eight patients were brought dead but their numbers were added to the list of deceased as their samples were collected for tests as per protocol.”
Ujjain division commissioner Anand Sharma said mostly Covid-19 patients in Ujjain are from containment areas as they are able to trace them. “As we have got a lab in Ujjain now, it will clear the backlog... The situation will improve.”
Public health expert Amulya Nidhi said Ujjain is a classic case of a state government’s failure in assessing the ground situation and inaction. “Besides lack of required surveys, screening and testing, the administration relied on a private facility for treatment of patients without trying to know if it had enough infrastructure. That there was no government laboratory till now and a private lab was engaged on Thursday, 35 days after the first case, speaks volumes about the bureaucratic approach in dealing with the pandemic.”