Odisha reports record 4,761 new COVID-19 cases, 5 fresh fatalities

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(Eds: Adds details) Bhubaneswar, Apr 20 (PTI) Odisha's COVID-19 tally soared to 3,77,464 on Tuesday as the state registered its highest single-day spike of 4,761 new cases, while five fresh fatalities pushed the coronavirus death toll to 1,953, a health official said.

As many as 2,785 new cases were reported in quarantine centres, while 1,976 fresh infections were detected during contact tracing.

Khurda district, under which Bhubaneswar falls, reported the highest number of new cases at 820, followed by the Chhattisgarh-bordering districts of Sundergarh (673) and Nuapada (534), he said.

Nuapada reported three fatalities, while Keonjhar and Rayagada registered one death each. Fifty-three coronavirus patients have died due to comorbidities so far.

Odisha now has 27,821 active cases, which is 7.3 per cent of the state's caseload, while 3,47,637 people have recovered from the disease so far.

The recovery rate among the coronavirus patients in the state stands at 92 per cent.

Odisha has thus far tested over 96.68 lakh samples for COVID-19, including 32,349 on Monday, while the state's positivity rate stands at 3.9 per cent.

Meanwhile, health officials said that 23 Kumbh Mela returnees, including 13 from Cuttack and 10 from Rayagada, are among the new patients and have been kept in isolation.

Dr Ajay Parida, Director of the Institute of Life Sciences (ILS), Bhubaneswar, said coronavirus transmission from neighbouring Chhattisgarh is one of the major reasons behind the surge in infections in Odisha.

'People residing in the 10 bordering districts of Odisha frequently visit Chhattisgarh where an average of 14,000 fresh cases is being reported. The infection is getting transmitted to Odisha.

'This apart, people from other COVID hotspot states are also returning to Odisha, causing a rise in fresh cases,' he said.

ILS, Bhubaneswar, is doing genome sequencing of the coronavirus.

The state neither has any coronavirus mutants like those found in Brazil and South Africa or Punjab or Maharashtra, he said.

'Odisha has a negligible 3-4 percent of double mutation which is mainly the UK variant,' Parida said.

He said more genome sequencing, however, is being done to ascertain the type of strain responsible for the alarming surge in fresh cases in the state. PTI AAM ACD ACD