With 17 deaths in 7 days Ujjain’s mortality rate is highest in MP
Ujjain district registered 137 Covid-19 cases till Thursday morning out of whom 24 have died.Updated: Apr 30, 2020 23:26 IST
Bhopal/Ujjain: With death of as many as 17 Covid-19 patients in the past seven days Ujjain has reported the highest death rate in Madhya Pradesh leaving Indore and Bhopal, two other big hotspots much behind, according to the state government’s data.
Madhya Pradesh has reported a total of 2,625 cases of Covid-19 and 137 deaths as on Thursday evening.
Ujjain district registered as many as 137 Covid-19 cases till Thursday morning out of whom 24 have died. The mortality rate is 17.51%. On April 23 the number of patients stood at 76 with seven dead. Thus in the past 7 days almost every fourth Covid patient died in the district.
Indore’s mortality rate as on Wednesday evening was 4.40% and Bhopal’s 2.89%. Madhya Pradesh’s mortality rate was 4.88% against the national mortality rate of 3.19% with 1,075 casualties.
It was only on Thursday, 35 days after the first Covid-19 case was reported in Ujjain that the state government could engage a private medical college’s laboratory in the city for testing the samples.
Health department officials say the inordinate delay in getting reports of samples was one of the main reasons behind the high mortality rate.
Ujjain’s first Covid-19 patient came to light after her death on March 25 when she tested positive. Till March 31 there were just six patients and two of them had died. On April 15, six of the 30 patients had died. But the number of Covid-19 positive cases rose alarmingly after April 22 and so did the number of casualties.
A health department official who did not want to be named said, “The situation was alarming right from the beginning when as many as five members of the family of the first patient in Ujjain who had died were found infected. Ujjain was a similar case as that of Indore. The localities which were epicentres were identified early but the administration believed that with lockdown and curfew restrictions it would be able to control. Hence, there was no focus on massive survey, screening and collection of samples to be tested.”
He said, “As the state government too didn’t pay attention to the problem of upgrading any lab here for suspected Covid patients’ samples the administration in Ujjain heavily relied on labs in Indore and Bhopal which were already overburdened with a high number of samples to be tested. 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.”
Public health expert Amulya Nidhi said, “Ujjain is a classic case in the country of a state government and its machinery’s failure in assessing the ground situation and swinging into action to control the situation. Besides lack of required survey, screening and samples collection the administration relied on a private facility for treatment of patients without trying to know if it had the infrastructure to treat patients. The fact that there is no government laboratory till now and a private lab was engaged on Thursday 35 days after the first case of Covid-19 found speaks volumes for the bureaucratic approach of the government in dealing with a pandemic.”
But the government says that most of those who died of Covid-19 in Ujjain had co-morbidity factors.
The nodal officer for Covid-19 Dr HP Sonaniya said, “About 90% of the patients who died were suffering from several other diseases. There were only two to three young patients who had died. The rest were above 60 years of age. There were at least 7 to 8 patients who died within two hours of their admission to the hospitals as they were admitted in a very serious situation and they came very late. Also, 7 to 8 patients were brought dead but their number was added to the list of deceased as their samples were collected for test as per protocol.”
Commissioner, Ujjain division Anand Sharma expects the situation to improve in the near future.
“Mostly the patients in Ujjain are coming from containment areas as we are able to trace them after contact tracing of the patients. As we have got a lab in Ujjain now it will not only clear the backlog in Ujjain but in the division too regarding the test of samples. The number of deaths rose as four deaths were reported from one family only in Badnagar, a town in Ujjain district. The situation will improve in the coming days,” Sharma said.