The six people who died also had co-morbid conditions.
Even as Gujarat reported the sixth death due to novel coronavirus on Monday— recording the highest case fatality rate in the country of 8 per cent — health officials in the state are yet to find out how the infection was contracted in at least half of them.
The local administrations also have confirmed that the source of infection for at least 10 persons who have tested positive remains unknown.
The six persons who died due to the infection also had co-morbid conditions including the 46-year old woman in Ahmedabad from the Astodia, who had lung fibrosis with limited lung functionality, and the 47-year-old man from Gomtipur area, who had diabetes.
However, in both the cases, the source of infection is yet to be traced, said Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation Deputy Municipal Commissioner Om Prakash Machra.
The source of infection for a 59-year old medical professional in Ahmedabad, who tested positive on March 26, continues to be unknown, said Machra. But authorities suspect that being a medical professional, she may have come in contact with an infected person.
Machra said that with the rise number of positive cases, they are planning to increase surveillance.
“In the core AMC area, we have identified 1.5 lakh households which require intense screening as they have been deemed as highly sensitive. This includes households in densely populated areas, slums or where we are seeing undetected chain of transmission cases or where health resource outreach is limited. Our teams will visit them at least twice a week.” he said.
While the state health department has been categorising seven of the total 23 positive cases in Ahmedabad as “local transmission”, the local authorities said that they have been unable to trace the source of infection in at least three of the seven cases.
Similarly, in Bhavnagar, authorities have been unable to ascertain the source of infection for five persons, including a 45-year old woman who died on Monday. The woman had comorbidities like a neurological condition and a history of tuberculosis, but the source of her coronavirus infection is yet to be identified, said Dr AK Taviyad, Chief District Health officer (CDHO) of Bhavnagar.
"She did not have any travel history. However, a few persons from her village had returned from Surat recently. She might have contracted the infection from them," said Dr Taviyad.
Bhavnagar Municipal Corporation officers said they have not been able to identify the source of infection of the other four persons who had tested positive on Monday.
"These cases are most probably cases of community transmission because they don't have any foreign travel history," Bhavnagar Municipal Commissioner M A Gandhi said.
So far, two persons have died in Bhavnagar due to the infection.
The first COVID-19 patient in the city was a 70-year-old man who had traveled to Delhi and he died on March 26.
Medical officer of health (MOH) of Bhavnagar Municipal Corporation, Dr R K Sinha, had told this paper on Monday that the four cases reported from the city on Monday were not from the cluster in which the man who had traveled to Delhi used to live. He said that three of the four cases were from a radius of three kilometre from the residence of the 70-year-old man. The fourth one was a little farther. "Three patients belong to the same community as the 70-year-old man. The fourth one, however, is from another community," Dr Sinha had said.
Dr Sinha further said the four others were not in the list of 154 social contacts of the 70-year-old man.
“Therefore, we suspect these are cases of community transmission," he said.
On Tuesday, it was confirmed that the 70-year-old man had attended a religious gathering in New Delhi’s Nizamuddin area early this month. "He used to attend mass prayers at a religious place in Bhavnagar. Two of the four men who tested positive on Monday, also used to attend mass prayers but not at the same place. In fact, the two were offering prayers at two different places,” Dr Sinha said.
In Rajkot too, where 10 positive cases have been reported, the source of infection of a 76-year-old woman and her son remain unestablished.
The woman tested positive on March 24 and her 46-year old son tested positive on March 25.
Sources in Rajkot Municipal Corporation told The Indian Express that they had not been able to ascertain the source of infection for the duo.
In Surat, a 67-year-old man, who was being treated at the United Green hospital after showing symptoms of the disease, had tested positive on Monday.He was running a laundry shop and has no history of foreign tour, Deputy Commissioner of Health and Hospital Dr. Ashish Naik said adding that they are yet find out the source of infection.
The number of positive cases in Gujarat stand at 74 and around 1,500 people were tested.
Meanwhile, the neighbouring Maharashtra has reported 220 confirmed cases with 10 deaths, recording a mortality rate which is half of that of Gujarat. As of Monday, Maharashtra had tested around 4,100 persons.
(With inputs by Kamaal Saiyed from Surat)