Bhubaneswar: Odisha is seemingly sitting on a Corona bomb that is ticking fast. The Test Positive Rates (TPR) of vulnerable city spots in the State have dropped the mega hint. As many as 4 centres in Odisha have a TPR higher than Chennai - one of the major hotspots in the country's second COVID-19 wave.
Such a big disconcerting trend with regard to coronavirus had popped up at the review meeting undertaken by CM Naveen Patnaik yesterday.
THE SITTING DUCKS
As per the data released, four centres - Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Sundargarh and Mayurbhanj - in Odisha have recorded a very high Test Positive Rate (TPR) during the last 15-days (March 6-22).
While the TPR of Cuttack is measured at a high of 6.35 per cent, Bhubaneswar closes in with a TPR of 5.75 per cent. The TPR in Sundargarh and Mayurbhanj has recorded at 3.95 per cent and 3.5 per cent, respectively.
In contrast, the State's daily positive rate today stood at 0.66 per cent. The average daily TPR of State for the 15-day period hovers at around 0.5 per cent.
WHY FOURSOME IS WORRISOME?
The tale behind the high TPR of the four centres seems eye-popping, as the TPR of all of them have been far higher than Chennai's 3.1 per cent (as measured during the last 8-days). Tamil Nadu with a TPR of 1.7 per cent is figuring among the top-5 COVID-19 hotspots nationally in the second wave. And Chennai with around 1000 new cases during last few days has been ranked as one of the major hotspots in the country.
The disconcerting part of Odisha's Covid-19 story is the four-Covid-19 engines (Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Sundargarh and Mayurbhanj) that are steaming the cases up in the State, have witnessed very few RT-PCR tests.
As per the data provided by the State Health Department, the number of actual RT-PCR tests conducted during the last 7-days in Bhubaneswar had been a mere 10 per cent of the target. In Sundargarh, the actual tests to target proportion were around 20 per cent, whereas the proportion in Mayurbhanj stood at 32 per cent.
In Cuttack, the actual RT-PCR tests had been at around 63 per cent of the targeted tests.
The data with the State Health Department shows that to date the cumulative RTPCR tests conducted in Odisha stood at over 45.46 lakh, which is around 17 per cent of the total tests conducted.
WHY RT-PCR MATTERS?
As per ICMR, RAT (Rapid Antigen Tests) are prone to give false results that range as high as 50 per cent. It, therefore, calls for conducting RT-PCR tests to check the transmission of Covid-19 in the country.
ODISHA VS TAMIL NADU
Significantly, Tamil Nadu is the only state in the country where the RT-PCR tests conducted stood at over 98 per cent of the total Covid-19 tests to date. The State has targeted to conduct near 74k RT-PCR tests daily in the context of the second Covid-19 wave.
In contrast, Odisha is conducting around 25k tests daily, of which only around 17-20 per cent were RT-PCR tests.
Simply put, the low proportion of RT-PCR tests in Odisha has actually presented an underestimate scenario of the actual Covid-19 cases in the State.
URGENT ACTIONS ODISHA NEED TO TAKE
When the two centres - Cuttack and Bhubaneswar - are being apparently seen as sitting ducks, the immediate course of action the respective district administration ought to have taken is - setting up fever clinics to screen the Covid-19 carriers.
EXAMPLE: Chennai has conducted a massive over 1.11 lakh fever clinics during the last 11-months (May 2020-March 2021) and has identified nearly 2.1 lakh, symptomatic patients.
The Chennai Municipal Corporation is daily organising over 230 camps to identify ILI (Influenza-like Illness) symptomatic patients.
COVID19 ALERT FOR ODISHA
Recently. seven new cases have been identified in Chennai, who happened to be returnees from West Bengal and Bihar. At present, West Bengal is not a red-flag state for Odisha Covid-19 scheme of things, when the daily inflow of hundreds takes place to the State.