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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: With only 31 confirmed COVID-19 cases in its 27 COVID hospitals till Saturday and 24 recovery cases, can Odisha be considered to be in a safe position or still staring at more cases in coming days?

Two districts Bhadrak and Puri were declared non-hotspot centres in Odisha by the Centre for not reporting any new positive case in the last 14 days. Since districts like Cuttack and Jajpur also have not reported any new COVID-19 positive cases since April 4, will these also be declared non-hotspot districts remains to be seen.

The month of April being crucial for the State in its battle against COVID-19, the task cut out for the Administration is to not let these ‘relieved’ centres fall back into the COVID-zone tag.

Odisha seemingly has created a niche in COVID hospitals in the country. The State now accounts for 3.6 per cent of the COVID hospitals in the country, when its COVID-19 positive burden nationally is only a fraction (0.39%). Odisha has only 61 positives compared to the national tally of 15,712.

However, the data with the State Health department looks not all that assuring. The COVID-19 numbers that have emerged from the State’s 27 COVID-19 hospitals looks a bit dampening. The tempo built by the Odisha government to defeat novel coronavirus needs to be maintained.

The State Health Department data shows as many as 15 COVID suspects being currently treated in the COVID hospitals in the State and 11 are in ICU. Covid-19 suspects mean they display symptoms akin to the symptoms of COVID-19. And those in the ICU have developed some sort of respiratory illness.
Though they are currently only COVID-19 suspects and confirmation is awaited, it could also be that they may have pneumonia. Since symptoms are common, they have been admitted to the ICU of COVID hospitals, as per the new ICMR guidelines.

Regarding the capacity utilisation of the COVID hospital beds in the State, it has been observed that while the utilisation of general beds is a mere 1 per cent, the ICU beds utilisation stands at 3.7 per cent as on Sunday.

The COVID-19 battle needs to be fought at two levels in the State: 1) Pruning the COVID-19 hit lists in the State, and 2) preventing emergence of new hotspots.

The bottom line is if a district doesn’t report any new positive case even after 28 days since the reporting of the first case, it can be considered that the battle is about to be won. But since the deadline is 40 days from the date of reporting of the first case in an area,  a vigil time of 40 days in those areas is essential to nip the COVID bud in the State.

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