Chennai, Mar 18 (PTI) Tamil Nadu saw a new high of daily coronavirus cases with 989 people contracting the contagion, pushing the caseload to 8.63 lakh while nine more deaths took the toll to 12,573, the health department said on Thursday.
The state's daily count of infections stayed above 500 mark since March 5.
Recoveries were lesser with 569 patients being discharged, taking the cumulative to 8,44,568 leaving 6,222 active cases, a health bulletin said.
Chennai accounted for most of the new infections with 394 cases being reported, aggregating 2,40,245 till date.
The metropolis also leads in the number of fatalities with 4,190.
All the nine deceased were ailing with pre-existing comorbidity.
A total of 72,025 samples were tested on Thursday taking the cumulative number of specimens examined so far to 1.85 crore.
Chengalpet was behind Chennai with 86 cases, Coimbatore 77 and Thiruvallur 71.
As many as 19 districts reported fresh infections in single digits while Perambalur and Sivagangai recorded 'nil' cases.
Makkal Needhi Maiam candidate for the Velachery assembly constituency here and former IAS officer Santhosh Babu also tested positive for the virus.
'I wish to inform my Velachery voters that I contracted COVID. How unlucky I am. I really want to meet with all of you and seek your blessings and votes.
We will be going on a hyper digital campaign and my teams will come and meet with you. Do vote for MNM and me', he said in twitter.
Four individuals who returned from Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand and Karnataka were among those who tested positive today.
Meanwhile, Chief Secretary Rajeev Ranjan in a review meeting on the COVID-19 precautionary measures, directed the health and family welfare officials toset up mini clinics, primary healthcare centres and temporary hospitals to strengthen the vaccination programme.
Noting that 761 private hospitals were already engaged in vaccination drive launched on January 16, the Chief Secretary said other private health care institutions that evince interest can be allowed to inoculate people.
Officials were also instructed to identify those who qualify for receiving the jab and steps be taken to ensure that the vaccine doses do not go waste.
It was also decided in the meeting that a street with more than three COVID-19 positive cases be declared as a 'containment zone' and ensure that the residents of the locality and outsiders coming entering the street undergo COVID-19 test.
Places where people congregate in large numbers like drinking water distribution centres, public toilets located in the containment zone should be properly sanitised, the release said.
Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan, who inspected a COVID- 19 hospital equipped with 4,580 beds in neighbouring Athipattu on Thursday said the spread of the virus in the state was 'not a large scale outbreak' and cases reported were in 'clusters'.
'This time it is not a large scale outbreak', he told reporters.
He appealed to the public to take extra care to safeguard themselves in the coming days by wearing masks, maintaining social distance and frequently washing hands. PTI VIJ ROH ROH