Assam reports over 5,500 fresh Covid cases for 2nd day, 50 more die | Guwahati News


GUWAHATI: For the second consecutive day on Saturday, Assam recorded more than 5,000 fresh cases of Covid-19, while 50 people lost their lives to the virus.
A total of 5,756 cases were recorded during the past 24 hours, health officials said.
The overall positivity percentage hovered around 8.84, after conducting 65,140 tests.
The highest number of positive cases were recorded in Kamrup (Metropolitan) district, where 1,543 more people tested positive during the past 24 hours. The recovery rate in the state is 86.24%.
The pace of the virus spread during the second wave remains unchanged in Assam, health experts said, even as there has been no stopping in the spiralling of number of new cases in the state.
For the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic last year, the number of positive cases detected in a day crossed the 5,000-mark on Friday night.
The figure may sound worrying but senior officials in the state health department said this could have gone up further, had several municipal wards in Guwahati not been declared containment zones.
Assam is among those states where total lockdown has not been declared yet, though the number of active cases is on the rise and has touched 34,146.
A total of 5,626 new cases were detected on Friday, when the positivity rate was 8.24%. A total of 68,318 tests were conducted on Friday.
โ€œHome confinement has probably kept the number of daily cases to less than 6,000 in the state. Areas in and around the district headquarters still remain most vulnerable to the virus spread,โ€ a senior health official told TOI, adding that they are expecting some bold decisions from the new government, formation of which has been delayed over choice of chief minister at a crisis situation.
Health department sources said lockdown might be an option to check the number of active cases, but incumbent health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma was not favouring any such move since it hits the lower income categories hard.
There are about 8,000 total beds reserved for Covid patients in government hospitals in Assam. This includes about 600 ICU beds. However, the higher number of admitted cases in the state capital alone may force the health authorities to shift some cases to hospitals in nearby districts, if the city hospitals run short of beds.
Director of National Health Mission, Assam, Lakshmanan S said on Saturday, โ€œThe present occupancy of government hospital beds by Covid patients in the state is around 4,000. But the worrying sign is that in and around Guwahati only, 40-50% of these reserved beds are occupied.โ€
Overall, there are an estimated 20,000 general beds, 1,700 oxygen-supported beds and 900 ICU beds in the state hospitals.
The state government is shifting focus on expanding the capacity at Covid care centres, as space in government hospitals becomes a major concern.
Very few private hospitals are admitting Covid patients, which is resulting in mounting pressure on government hospitals in and around Guwahati.
But fast deterioration of the health condition of some Covid patients in home isolation has compelled a large number of positive cases to prefer the government monitoring at Covid care centres โ€” all three of which in Guwahati, with a capacity of about 1500 beds, are being filled up slowly.
โ€œOf late, even asymptomatic patients are fearing that home isolation is not a safe option any more as their health condition may deteriorate suddenly. The mindset of Covid-infected patients has changed, if we compare the initial days of the second surge, when most people were preferring home isolation,โ€ said Kamrup (Metro) additional deputy commissioner Sharmistha Borah, adding that nearly 70% of the beds in care centres were occupied as of Saturday.



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