TN records 1,385 new COVID-19 infections, 10 fatalities

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Chennai, Mar 22 (PTI) The COVID-19 graph continued its upward trend in Tamil Nadu as the state logged 1,385 cases, including three from outside the state, and 10 fatalities, pushing the caseload to 8.68 lakh and the toll to 12,609.

The state saw the number of cases cross the 1,000 mark on March 19 after over an 80 day gap, when it touched 1,087.

Recoveries on Monday were lesser with 659 patients being discharged, taking the cumulative number to 8,47,139 leaving 8,619 active cases, a health department bulletin said.

Chennai accounted for most of the new infections with 496 cases being reported, aggregating 2,42,115 till date.

The metropolis also leads in the number of fatalities with 4,202.

Among the 10 deceased, a 64 year-old was the lone individual to succumb to the virus without any co-morbidities.

A total of 73,247 samples were tested on Monday taking the cumulative number of specimens examined so far to 1,88,54,356.

Coimbatore was behind Chennai with 130 cases, Chengalpet 126 and Thanjavur with 83.

As many as 11 districts reported fresh infections in single digits.

Three persons who returned from the United Arab Emirates, Karnataka, Kerala were among those who tested positive today.

Meanwhile, chief secretary Rajeev Ranjan reviewed the COVID-19 precautionary measures taken in the State on Monday.

An official press release said the infection rate was comparatively higher over the last week in cities like Chennai, Chengalpet, Coimbatore, Tiruvallur, Thanjavur, Kancheepuram, Tiruppur, Salem, Madhurai, Tiruvarur.

Steps were taken to step up RT-PCR testing in all the districts, particularly in those districts which report high COVID-19 cases, the release said.

Meanwhile, four employees of a private company, which has offices in three areas in Chennai, tested positive recently.

As many as 364 of their contacts were tested, of which 40 contracted the contagion, the release said.

All those who tested positive were isolated and are under treatment, it said, adding the company has been 'temporarily shut' and Greater Chennai Corporation has taken steps to sanitise the area.

Asked about it, health secretary J Radhakrishnan told reporters that was due to the company not following standard operating procedures laid out by the government.

Health secretary J Radhakrishnan said Rs 83 lakh was collected as fines from 38,722 people in the last four days for not adhering to the standard operating procedures laid out by the government.

Briefing reporters, he said the health department, in association with the district administration, would undertake 'random testing' in places like bus terminus and areas where people gather in large numbers to identify positive cases.

'This is a new initiative and if any individual has tested positive during random testing, we take steps to trace the contacts of the individual to curb the spread of the virus', he said.

Radhakrishnan said the public are now lax, thinking that the cases are on the decline. But the numbers are on the increase and they should support the government by following COVID-19 protocol, he said He said there are now COVID-19 clusters in places like Chennai, Chengalpet, Tiruvallur, Coimbatore and Tiruppur.

He said RT-PCR testing has been ramped up from 50,000 samples a day to 75,000, To a query, he said everyone, even those attending public meetings, should wear masks, only 50 per cent of space should be occupied and social distancing should be maintained.

District collectors and city commissioners have been instructed to ensure COVID-19 protocols were strictly followed in the respective areas, he said.

On the vaccination drive, he said 21 lakh people have so far been given the shots and government had 14 lakh vaccine doses in stock.

On Monday, the State received 3. 50 lakh doses of COVISHIELD vaccine, he said. PTI VIJ APR ADMINISTRATOR APR ADMINISTRATOR