CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu added 2,533 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday pushing down the doubling time for the viral infection to 1,274 days from more than 10,000 days in the mid of June. During the same period, the weekly test positivity rate jumped to 5.5% from 1.6%.
But the epidemiological factor that is worrying health experts and doctors in this surge is the daily increase in hospitalisation. While the rate of hospitalisation – the number of patients hospitalised over the total number of active cases – is still at 5%, the number of people being admitted has steadily increased.
Of the 13,319 active cases of the viral infection, 648 people were in hospitals compared to 595 on Friday. Among the 648 people, 216 of them were on oxygen beds and 65 of them were in the ICU. A week ago on June 25, there were 364 patients in the hospital including 136 of them oxygen beds and 30 in the ICUs. In mid-June, when there were 103 patients in hospitals, six of them were in ICUs. “When the number of active cases increases the cases in hospitals are bound to increase. An increase in the number of patients in ICUs will increase the risk of deaths as well,” said WHO chief scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan. Since March 17, there was just one death reported due to the viral infection in TN, which has a case fatality rate of around 1%.
On Saturday, hotspot Chennai reported 1,059 new cases followed by 393 in Chengalpet, 143 in Tiruvallur and 87 in Kancheepuram. Together the Chennai region reported 66% of new cases in the state. While Coimbatore reported 117 new cases, Kanyakumari had 88 and Trichy reported 72 new cases. Tirunelveli, Tuticorin and Madurai reported 70, 62 and 50 new cases respectively. All districts reported new cases with Cuddalore and Dharmapuri recording one new case each – the lowest in the state.
Active cases in Chennai rose to 5,603 while Chengalpet had 2,185 patients in isolation. “We have adequate beds in all districts. There are enough human resources, medicines, and infrastructure to deal with another surge,” said director of public health Dr TS Selvavinayagam.