(Eds:Adding quotes of health secretary) Chennai, Nov 17 (PTI) Tamil Nadu added 1,652 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday,pushing its tally to 7,61,568, while 18 people succumbed to the virus taking the death toll to 11,513,the health department said on Tuesday.
For the second day running, Perambalur, which has been adding new cases in single digits over the past few days, reported 'zero' infections.
Tamil Nadu's daily tally of fresh infections fell below the 2000 mark on November 13 which saw 1,939 new COVID- 19 cases.
Since then, it has been steadily declining.
Recoveries continued to outnumber the fresh infections as 2,314 people walked out of various health care institutions, aggregating to 7,34,970 till date.
Active cases in the State stood at 15,085, the department bulletin said.
As many as 62,415 samples were tested today with 1,11,99,077 specimens getting examined till date.
Meanwhile, Health secretary J Radhakrishnan has asked district collectors and city corporation commissioner to be more vigilant and step up efforts to aggressively test people for the infection.
In a letter to district collectors and greater chennai corporation commissioner, he placed emphasis on focusing in areas showing a spurt and emergence of 'clusters.' District heads should ensure that the health and local body teams contain such spurts immediately.
Radhakrishnan said there has been a sustained dip in positive cases and test positivity rate.However, number of tests are also declining due to reduced number of persons coming to camps and correspondingly less number traced as contacts.
'Though this is attributed to festivals, rains and holidays still we need to be extremely careful in the coming days and ensure that the public do not take the case reduction as a basis for not following the SOPs and masks and avoiding testing,' he said in the communication.
The next 14 to 28 days is important and unless testing is increased to pre-festival levels 'we are likely to miss emerging hotspots and clusters,' he said.
Chennai, which saw its daily infections dropping below 500 mark on November 16 with 497 cases, reported a further decline with 492 new infections on Tuesday.
Coimbatore reported 170, Chengalpet 112 cases, while six districts added fresh infections in single digits-- Virudhunagar and Ramanathapuram 4 each, Sivagangai 6, Tuticorin 5, Theni 8 and Pudukottai 9.
Of the 7.61 lakh COVID-19 cases in Tamil Nadu, Chennai accounted for 2,09,646.
Among the 18 deaths reported today, 12 died in private hospitals while six in government.
All those who succumbed were with co-morbidities.
Of the 11,513 death toll in Tamil Nadu, Chennai accounted for 3,783.
The government said two private labs have received approval to conduct COVID-19 tests, taking the total number of facilities operating in the State to 212 of which 66 is run by government.PTI VIJ JSP BN WELCOME BN WELCOME