TN reports 36,184 new Covid cases; city tally dips to 5,913

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(Eds: adding details) Chennai May 21 (PTI) Tamil Nadu on Friday reported 36,184 new coronavirus infections, with the State capital's daily COVID-19 count registering a slight decline to 5,913 as against 6,073 the day before.

The number of deaths stood at 467, taking the total number of fatalities to 19,598.

The total number of positive cases till date numbered 17,70,988 and the number of active cases, including those in isolation, stood at 2,74,629.

On Friday, 24,478 people were discharged after treatment, taking the total number of recoveries to 14,76,761.

People who returned from Andhra Pradesh (4), Karnataka (1) and West Bengal (1) added to the total of 36,184 fresh cases, a health department bulletin said.

Chennai accounted for 5,913 new cases, 4,590 recoveries and 109 fatalities.

The metro's overall tally is 4,68,262, with the active cases/those under treatment remaining at 48,782.

The total recoveries in the city so far is 4,13,266 while 6,214 people have died.

Next to Chennai, Coimbatore reported 3,243 new cases, followed by Chengalpattu 2,226, Tiruppur 1,796, Thiruvallur 1,667, Erode 1,656, Madurai 1,355, Kanyakumari 1,251 and Kancheepuram 1,145.

Meanwhile, the state government ordered the Director of medical and rural health services to conduct an enquiry into the death of a 49-year-old patient at the government headquarters hospital in Cuddalore over the alleged removal of oxygen support.

Minister for Medical and Family Welfare Ma Subramanian said the enquiry was ordered on instructions from Chief Minister M K Stalin and the director would submit a report on the alleged lapse soon.

An official release quoting the Minister said Raja (49) was admitted to the Cuddalore hospital on May 5 and his CT scan revealed his 80 to 90 per cent of his lungs had been affected.

Though he tested negative for COVID-19, he was put on oxygen support.

On May 20, the patient removed the oxygen mask to have breakfast and during that time one Manigandan with low oxygen level was rushed to the same hospital.

The oxygen equipment given to Raja was used to stabilise Manigandan and the life-saving equipment was returned to Raja.

However, the latter died of cardiac arrest, the Minister said in the release.

Meanwhile, the government said the directorate of public health and preventive medicine has issued orders to cancel the permission given to a lab to process RT-PCR samples for SARS CoV-2 (COVID-19) until further orders for reportedly certifying 4,000 COVID negative samples as positive on the ICMR portal, and attributing them to Tamil Nadu.

An analysis of the ICMR portal by authorities revealed that the results of RT-PCR samples for COVID-19 received from Kolkata were uploaded as samples received from Kallakurichi in Tamil Nadu.

Around 4,000 samples tested negative and were uploaded as positive on the ICMR portal on May 19 and 20. Further, several incomplete details were also found in the line list of positive cases entered daily, an official release said.

The uploading of samples received from outside of Tamil Nadu in the state's account has led to undue increase in caseload and positivity of Tamil Nadu, it said.

This has spoiled the sincere efforts taken by the State in dealing with COVID-19 pandemic, the release said, accusing the laboratory of not following the due procedure laid down by ICMR and Central government, besides conducting itself out of alleged vested interest and negligence.

Responding, the lab in contention said that the issue was the result of an 'encryption error'.

'We deeply and unconditionally regret the encryption error that occurred while uploading to ICMR database and have already taken steps to correct it in full and right earnest.' 'In fact, as we share this, our team is working in close coordination with the state government officials on the same,' it said.

It said it will wholeheartedly welcome and provide unstinted co-operation to any state government team visiting the lab.

'When the encryption error is rectified/addressed, it offsets the issue/challenge caused by the error,' it added.

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