Odisha logs 82 new COVID-19 cases, tally at 3,38,405

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(Eds: Adds inputs) Bhubaneswar, Mar 17 (PTI) Odisha's COVID-19 caseload mounted to 3,38,405 on Wednesday as 82 more people tested positive for the infection, a health department official said.

Of the new cases, 48 were reported from quarantine centres and the remaining 34 detected during contact tracing.

Mayurbhanj district recorded the highest of new cases at 11, followed by Khurda (9), Bargarh and Sundergarh (7 each).

Two districts -Boudh and Malkangiri - have turned 'COVID-19 free' as no active cases exist there.

Sixty-one people were cured of the disease during the day, taking the total number of recoveries to 3,35,857, which is 99.24 per cent of the caseload.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik participated in a virtual conference chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the pandemic situation in the country.

Patnaik said the spread of coronavirus could be managed through an effective awareness drive and enforcement activities as the state does not want to return to the lockdown era.

He, in a statement, said the state government has decided to increase the number of vaccination centres from 700 to 1,000 across Odisha to facilitate a hassle-free inoculation drive for senior citizens.

The death toll remained at 1,918 as no fresh fatality has been reported since March 13, the official said.

Fifty-three other COVID-19 patients have died in the state due to comorbidities, he said.

Currently, the state has 577 active cases, which is 0.17 per cent of the caseload.

The state has so far tested over 86.87 lakh samples for COVID-19, including 25,401 on Tuesday, and the positivity rate is at 3.9 per cent, he said.

Meanwhile, the Puri district administration launched the COVID-19 vaccination drive for Shree Jagannath temple servitors.

About 100 servitors above 60 years of age will be vaccinated, the official said.

Servitors in the age group of 45-59 years can also be inoculated if they have comorbidities like diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer.

Official sources said more than 14 lakh people, including 6 lakh senior citizens, have been vaccinated to date.

The state government has urged the Centre to include journalists as frontline workers in the COVID-19 vaccination process.

Additional chief secretary of the state health department PK Mohapatra has written to the Centre, requesting it to widen the list of frontline workers for the vaccination drive. PTI AAM BDC BDC