Chennai, May 22 (PTI): After reporting high cases on a daily basis, Tamil Nadu on Saturday registered a marginal dip in the number of new COVID-19 infections by adding 35,873 cases, pushing the caseload to 18,06,861 while 448 deaths took the toll of fatalities to 20,046 till date.
On Friday, the State reported an all-time high of 36,184 new infections besides adding 467 fatalities on a single day.
According to a bulletin from the Health Department on Saturday, among those infected 13 were returnees from various destinations while an 18-year-old boy from Ramanathapuram succumbed to the virus sans any pre-existing illness.
The number discharged today was 25,776, taking the overall tally to 15,02,537, leaving 2,84,278 active infections.
The State capital also witnessed a decline in the total infections for the second consecutive day, accounting for 5,559 cases totalling 4,73,671 till date.
The metropolis also leads in the number of fatalities with 6,298 deaths.
Coming behind Chennai in the infection count were Coimbatore with 3,165 cases, Chengalpet 1,954, Tiruvallur 1,511, Tiruppur 1,466, Erode 1,758, Tiruchirappalli 1,351, 1,352 and Kanyakumari 1,621.
Cuddalore saw 801, Thanjavur 884, Tuticorin 893, while Krishnagiri, Salem, Theni and Thiruvannamalai reported in excess of 700 cases each, while the rest were scattered across other districts.
A total of 1.75 lakh samples were tested today, taking the cumulative number of specimens examined so far to 2,61,24,748.
Among the 448 fatalities, 125 people, including the teenaged boy, who did not have any pre-existing illness, succumbed to the virus, the bulletin said.
Earlier in the day, Medical Minister M Subramanian inaugurated a 'zero delay' ward comprising 136 beds at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital here.
The 136 beds were an addition to the existing 72 beds in the ward and since there was a delay in patients getting admitted, they were waiting in ambulances, he said.
Currently, all the 72 beds were occupied in the 'zero delay ward' which is why the 136 beds have been set up, he told reporters.
Subramanian said the attenders were not allowed to be with their patients while getting treated in the ward as there is a possibility for the former to contract the contagion.
'Doctors and nurses themselves are playing the role of attenders to COVID-19 patients in the hospital,' he said.
'There are 2,050 beds that have been set up to treat the COVID-19 patients. If there are 2,050 patients and 2,050 attenders (to assist the patients), it will not be a hospital, it will be a market,' he said.
On the status of black fungus infection, he said the number of people affected by it in the State climbed to 38, including the already nine individuals under treatment at the hospital.
'We have adequate medicines. The Centre has sent 140 vials of amphotericin b to the State,' he said.
On whether the government reduced the number of vaccination centres in the State, he said earlier there was a wastage of vaccines and in view of that some centres were closed.
'Now, we have floated global tenders to procure the new vaccines. Once they are available we will set up new centres as per the need,' he said. PTI VIJ NVG NVG