Central team cautions Bihar on spike in Covid cases during festive season
It was on Tuesday that the state capital Patna reported 392 new infections, the highest single day spike in cases in the last two months.Updated: Oct 22, 2020, 00:31 IST
A three-member Central team has cautioned Bihar of a possible spike in Covid-19 cases with elections and festival season just around the corner.
It asked the state to be particularly cautious during the upcoming Chhath festival next month.
It was on Tuesday that the state capital Patna reported 392 new infections, the highest single day spike in cases in the last two months.
The team held a marathon five-hour discussion with state health officials on Wednesday, and also visited the Patna Medical College Hospital and the Nalanda Medical College Hospital (NMCH). The state officials made power-point presentations of the total cases, positivity rate, containment measures put in place, testing, isolation of patients and utilisation of institutional beds.
It went to the two state-run medical colleges to assess their infrastructure and preparedness to cope with a possible spike in cases. It also enquired about availability of oxygen through centralised pipeline at the two hospitals.
The team was likely to visit an adjoining district near Patna on Thursday to assess medical infrastructure there.
State health officials were tightlipped about the central team’s observation after visiting the PMCH and the NMCH.
Barring Patna, most of the districts had a positivity rate of less than 5% on real time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), which is a confirmatory test for Covid-19. Patna’s positivity rate was over 7%, said sources.
“Members of the Central team generally do not say anything. They just jot down points on the basis of their inspection, or the presentation the state makes before them. The team lead briefs the principal secretary of the department concerned before leaving, and the officials submit their report to the ministry concerned that later trickles down to us,” said an officer of the health department.
Health officials made light of the Central team’s visit, saying it was a “routine visit” to assess the Covid situation ahead of three-phase assembly elections in the state, beginning October 28.
“This is the fourth visit of a central team to Bihar since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in the state in March. Similar teams have gone to other states. Central teams have visited Maharashtra seven times during the same period,” said an officer requesting anonymity.
Bihar cadre bureaucrat Atish Chandra, posted as joint secretary in the ministry of agriculture, led the Central team. Dr CS Taklekar from the All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health, New Delhi, and Dr Dependra Kumar Rai from AIIMS-Patna were the other members.