Raipur, Aug 30 (PTI) Chhattisgarh has witnessed an exponential rise in COVID-19 infection count in August as it has reported over 19,500 cases so far this month with Raipur and four other districts being the worst-affected by the pandemic.
The state had recorded 9,192 coronavirus cases till July 31 since the first such case came to light in mid March.
However, the case count surged to 28,746 till Saturday, a health official said.
'A total of 19,554 cases were reported in August alone,' he said.
Talking to PTI, state Health Minister T S Singh Deo said that a large number of primary contacts of infected persons were found to have contracted the infection in districts like Raipur, Durg, Bilaspur, Raigarh and Rajnandgaon in the last one month.
The state had 12,666 active cases till Saturday as 15,818 people have been discharged, while 262 have succumbed to the infection.
'We are in a phase where active cases seem to be very high as compared to the national average. Earlier 100-500 cases were being reported per day, but now more than 1,000 cases are being detected each day,' the health minister said.
'Fortunately, the state's mortality rate is below 1 per cent. Yesterday it was 0.92 per cent,' he added.
As per health department statistics, in the last one week, the number of new infections has grown by an average of 5 per cent daily, which was four per cent in its previous week.
'Out of every 1 million people in the state, 855 have tested positive,' it said.
With 10,307 cases, Raipur district tops the tally in the state. Of these cases, 7,360 were reported in August only.
The district has so far seen 139 deaths.
Durg, Rajnandgaon, Bilaspur and Raigarh districts with 2,287, 1,872, 1,596 and 1,532 cases, respectively, were also the biggest contributors in the state tally.
Singh Deo said, 'The situation in districts like Raipur, Durg, Bilaspur and Raigarh is quite worrying. In these areas, the number of primary contacts of the infected person testing positive is very high.' He however said, 'It is not indicating the spread yet.' In tribal-dominated districts like Bastar, Dantewada and Kanker (all in Bastar division), the positivity rate had been very high in the last one month, he said.
'Of the total number of cases (28,746) so far in the state, around 2,444 cases were from paramilitary forces, which account for almost 10 per cent. Large number of paramilitary forces who have come from outside (other states including natives ones) have tested positive,' the minister said.
The paramilitary forces, including CRPF, are deployed in the state particularly for anti-Naxal operations.
'Another worrying aspect is that around 500 of our medical staff have tested positive so far,' he added.
The minister said his department has been focusing on increasing the strength of beds for patients with growing numbers of cases.
'We are now focusing on bed strength and ICU beds.
There are certain limitations not in terms of infrastructure, but because of human resources. You need three shifts of HR and it is extremely difficult to manage amid an increasing number of cases,' he added.
The minister said that with the increase in testing capacity, the number of cases will further spike in the state.
'We have targeted to conduct 20,000 tests per day as currently we are doing 12,000 tests each day. The state may witness 2,000 to 3,000 cases per day next month before it comes down,' he added.
According to the health official, the increased testing capacity can also be attributed as one of the factors for a huge spike in cases in one month as 3,16,127 people were tested till July 31 while in August alone, 2,44,146 people have so far been tested.
Till Saturday, a total 5,60,273 people have been screened for the COVID-19, he said. PTI TKP NP NP