Over 61k test positive, more than 1,000 die of Covid-19 in Punjab since Apr 1

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Chandigarh, Apr 20 (PTI) Punjab has added over 61,000 Covid-19 cases and reported over 1,000 deaths due to it since April 1 with many districts including Mohali, Ludhiana and Amritsar being among the worst-hit areas.

Health Department officials blamed non-adherence of Covid- appropriate behaviour by people and the UK variant of the virus for the sharp rise in Covid-19 cases in the second wave.

They also pointed out that delay in approaching hospitals for treatment by patients with severe symptoms and comorbidity conditions were the main reasons behind fatalities.

The Punjab government on Monday had announced stricter curbs, including the extension of night curfew by an hour and closure of bars, cinema halls, gyms, spas, coaching centres and sports complexes in the state till April 30.

According to the Health Department data, Punjab had a total 2,42,895 cases of infections as on April 1. The cases sharply rose to 3,04,660 as on April 19, showing a rise of 61,765 in COVID-19 infections.

For the past few days, the state has been seeing around 4,000 cases daily with experts indicating that the daily spike could reach 6,000 cases per day next month.

The state's positivity ratio which was earlier 7.8 per cent, had hit the highest rate of 12.6 per cent on April 15, officials said.

Punjab's overall positivity rate, a ratio of positive cases to total tests conducted, stands at 4.5 per cent.

Among the worst-affected districts, Mohali saw a quantum jump of 9,762 in fresh cases in the past 19 days. Ludhiana and Jalandhar added 9,035 and 6,982 infections since April 1, the data showed.

With Punjab having the highest case fatality rate of 2.6 per cent in the country, it logged 1,059 deaths since the start of this month with data showing total fatalities rising from 6,926 as on April 1 to 7,985 till April 19.

Amritsar, Hoshiarpur and Ludhiana reported over 100 deaths each while Jalandhar 96 in the past nineteen days, the data showed.

“Ninety per cent of total deaths have been of those who had comorbidities,” said Dr Rajesh Bhaskar, Punjab's nodal officer for Covid -19 on Tuesday.

Last week, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had pointed out that around 84 per cent of patients presented themselves at the hospital for the first time with severe symptoms, indicating delayed reporting. He had also said that almost 30 per cent of deaths were taking place within two days of hospitalisation.

The active cases in the state have also risen from 24,644 as on April 1 to 35,311 as on April 19, showing a rise of 10,667 patients.

As cases are spiralling in the state, the health authorities are focusing on making adequate medical oxygen available for Covid patients to meet the requirement.

The Health Department has projected demand for oxygen to go up to 120 metric tonnes per day next week as against 80 MT as of now, said a senior official of the department.

The state government has written to the Centre to give approval for two new oxygen plants at medical colleges Amritsar and Patiala.

As far as availability of beds, the occupancy in government and private hospitals for level-2 facilities is around 20 per cent and 30-35 per cent respectively, said the official.

For level-3 facilities, the occupancy of beds in both the government and private hospitals was around 45 per cent, he said.

The state government on Monday had directed 75 per cent reservation of level-3 facilities for Covid in all private hospitals providing critical Covid care.

Elective surgeries in government or private hospitals have also been postponed till May 15. PTI CHS VSD RAX RAX