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Vikash Sharma

Like in other parts of the country, Omicron cases witnessed a steep spike in Odisha after 23 new cases were reported on Sunday, taking the Covid mutant infection tally to 37 in the State.

As per the State Health Department, all the samples were sent for genome sequencing at the Institute Of Life Sciences (ILS), Bhubaneswar.

Health Services Director, Bijay Mohapatra said that of the 23 new Omicron cases, 19 are male and 4 female in the age group of 8 to 83 years.

Of the 23 new Omicron cases, highest 7 cases are from Keonjhar district, 4 from Khordha, 3 each from Puri and Sambalpur, 2 each from Boudh and Angul and 1 each case from Jagatsinghpur and Balasore districts. All of those, who have tested positive for the Omicron variant, have mild symptoms and are asymptomatic and their condition is stable.

“As per preliminary data, of the 23 new Omicron cases, 50 per cent cases are foreign returnees while the remaining 50 per cent are local cases. We are validating data of local cases to ascertain if they had any international travel history or whether they had come in contact with any foreign returnees,” said Mohapatra.

Mohapatra said Covid-19 cases are rising in Odisha as well as other parts of the country. Already the State government is sending more RT-PCR positive samples for genome sequencing as part of its long-term strategy for the Omicron variant.

“It has been observed that in Omicron cases, 90 per cent cases are asymptomatic and getting cured in home isolation. But we are ensuring that our Rapid Response Team keeps a track of the cases and takes appropriate measures for immediate hospitalisation of the critical ones,” said Mohapatra.

It is pertinent to mention here that Odisha had first reported two cases of Omicron infection on December 21, 2021. The infected duo had returned from Nigeria and Qatar, respectively.

The State Omicron tally subsequently jumped to four after the detection of two more cases on December 23. The Omicron tally in Odisha had jumped to 14 after five cases were reported on December 30, 2021.

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