COVID-19 cases breach 2,500 mark in TN; 19 deaths take toll to

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12,719 Chennai, Mar 31 (PTI): There was no let up in the surge in COVID-19 cases in Tamil Nadu, with the infection count crossing the 2,500 mark on Wednesday and 19 more deaths being reported, taking the toll to 12,719.

The health department said 2,579 new cases were reported, taking the caseload to 8.86 lakh.

Recoveries were lesser with 1,527 patients being discharged from hospitals, leaving 15,879 cases.

The state saw the COVID-19 case count cross the 1,000 mark on March 19 after an 80 day gap and the 2,000 mark on March 27.

Chennai accounted for most of the new infections on Wednesday with 969 cases, taking the aggregate to 2,48,965.

The metropolis also leads in the number of fatalities with 4,243.

A total of 83,713 samples were tested on Wednesday, pushing the cumulative number of specimens examined so far to 1,95,95,368.

Five districts, including Chennai, clocked new infections in triple digits -- Chengalpet 250, Coimbatore 273, Thanjavur 106 Kancheepuram 130 while 24 reported cases in double digits.

Among the 19 deceased were a 36-year-old man and a 39- year-old woman without comorbidites or pre-existing illness.

As many as 11 people who returned from various destinations, including New Delhi, West Bengal, Karnataka and Jharkhand were among those who tested positive today, the bulletin said.

Meanwhile, the government said the positivity rate in Chennai had increased to 4.5 per cent from three per cent.

Health secretary J Radhakrishnan said eight per cent of those who tested COVID-19 positive were below the age of 18 years, while those in the 18-45 age group comprised 50 per cent.

'Due to this everyone should be cautious.Since it is poll season, political leaders should instruct the public to wear a masks while attending political meetings', he said.

Radhakrishnan said, 4,368 beds in Chennai and 56,000 beds in Tamil Nadu have been kept ready to treat COVID-19 patients.

Cities and towns registering an increase in cases had been identified, based on which 600 places had been marked as 'containment zones.' Radhakrishnan said the government has taken steps to control the increase in number of deaths and these included ordering an additional 40 lakh doses of Covishield vaccine and two lakh of Covaxin, which are expected here by April 2.

He warned that action would be taken against any private hospital found collecting higher than the prescribed fees of Rs 250 for vaccinations.

Radhakrishnan said currently 80 per cent of people prefer to get the shots from government vaccination centres. PTI VIJ APR ADMINISTRATOR VIJ APR ADMINISTRATOR