Odisha’s highest single-day coronavirus surge crosses 1,000 cases, total deaths now 108
The highest surge of 1,078 cases came on the back of the state government upping the Covid-19 testings as well as increased sample positivity indicating more local transmission of the virus.Updated: Jul 22, 2020 21:51 IST
Despite continuing with lockdown in four of its hotspot districts and weekend shutdown in 15 other districts, the spread of Covid-19 in Odisha went unabated as the state recorded its highest-ever single day surge of 1,078 cases taking the total to 19,835. The fatalities due to the disease too rose to 108 with 5 more deaths being reported in last 24 hours.
The highest surge of 1,078 cases came on the back of the state government upping the Covid-19 testings as well as increased sample positivity indicating more local transmission of the virus. In the last 24 hours, the 42 laboratories in Odisha tested 9,277 samples with a daily sample positivity rate of 11.62 per cent, higher than national daily sample positivity rate of 11 per cent. The daily growth rate of 5.74 per cent against country’s daily growth rate of 3.26% suggested faster spread of the infection despite strictest lockdown.
In Ganjam district, where 6,362 cases have been reported so far, the highest single-day surge of 371 cases were detected in last 24 hours. Of the 371 cases in Ganjam, 369 were people outside quarantine homes and various Covid-19 frontline workers. In Khurda district, where 121 cases were detected, 91 came from Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation areas alone. Of these 91 cases, at least 40 cases came from a flour mill and slum area in the city.
Other districts that reported large number of Covid-19 cases in last 24 hours were Malkangiri(66) and Cuttack(57).
The quick spread of the virus in July could be gauged from the number of infections. In the month of June, when the weekend lockdown was in force in 11 districts, the state recorded 5071 cases. In July, the numbers till 21st have gone upto 12,290, more than double of what was reported in June, suggesting the little impact of lockdown on the spread of the virus.
“We think that there is some irregularity in Covid-19 testing. In Ganjam, many people who are being taken to hospitals are not being informed that they are Covid19 infected and not given reports. Many people are being released before completion of quarantine period after being informed that they are now Covid-19 negative,” said Bhrugu Baxipatra, state BJP vice-president. “We suspect that as there is a shortage of beds, the recovery to positive ratio is almost same. If State government is trying to show more recoveries, then the situation might become serious in coming days.”
Faced with rising number of cases, Odisha government in the last 2 days announced expenditure of Rs 55 crore for Ganjam, Khurda and Cuttack districts to strengthen Covid-19 management with added focus on surveillance and detection in slum areas. The fund will be spent from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund. On Wednesday, chief minister Naveen Patnaik who spoke to CEO of Serum Institute of India Adar Poonawalla over video call sought his cooperation to begin early vaccination in Odisha once necessary clearances are obtained. Patnaik said the his officials will be in touch with the Serum Institute for this purpose.
Meanwhile, opposition Congress and BJP trained their guns against the government alleging mismanagement of Covid-19 cases. Congress leader, Tara Prasad Bahinipati alleged there is absolute mismanagement of Covid-19 in Ganjam. “Had the State government had done testing in right manner, the rate of infection would not have been so high. The migrant workers who were kept in quarantine centres, were not given proper food and treatment which led to their sneaking out of the centres and infecting people around. The State government only focused on procurement of masks, PPEs and other articles, but did not take adequate steps for effective handling and treatment of the positive cases. When the situation went out of hands, the State government resorted to lockdown and shutdowns across the state,” he alleged.
State BJP vice-president, Bhrugu Baxipatra also alleged that there was irregularity in Covid-19 testing. “In Ganjam, many people who are being taken to hospitals are not being informed that they are Covid-19 infected but not given reports. Many people are being released before completion of quarantine period after being informed that they are now Covid-19 negative. We suspect that as there is a shortage of beds, the recovery to positive ratio is almost same. If State government is trying to show more recoveries, then the situation might become serious in coming days,” said Baxipatra.
BJD leader Pradip Panigrahi on the other hand demanded that the OPDs in hospitals be kept open as a significant number of people in the district suffered from diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney and heart ailments. “By closing the OPDs, there will be panic among such patients,” he said.