‘Odisha’s COVID-19 caseload may increase by 50,000 in August’

Bhubaneswar: As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Odisha with over 1,000 new cases being reported daily since July 21, the state’s caseload may increase by 50,000 in August, a senior official said. However, the director of a prominent research laboratory said, considering the rising number of positive cases now, the pandemic will be stable in Odisha by the last week of August after reaching its peak. With 29 fatalities in the first three days of August, the COVID-19 death toll in the coastal state has mounted to 216 while the infection tally is 37,681.

“At this stage of the pandemic, numbers will rise. We may add another 50K cases in August with around another 200 deaths,” Prof Jayant Panda, technical advisor to the Health and Family Welfare department, said in a tweet. However, people were asked “not to get worried” as more than 23,000 patients had recovered from the viral infection in the state till now, the official said.

The projection on fresh cases and fatalities in August was made on the basis of the prevailing trend.

The official data released by the health and family welfare department said that the state has been reporting more than 1,000 new cases every day since July 21.

“If the present trend continues, one should not be surprised if about 50,000 more cases are added in the month of August,” the official said. Ten COVID-19 deaths had been reported on August 1 and August 2 respectively and nine patients died of novel coronavirus on August 3. On an average, five persons had succumbed to COVID-19 in July, he said.

“Lets not get worried… More than 23,000 patients have already recovered. Lets try to save people from COVID- 19,” he said. However, Dr Ajay Parida, the Director of Institute of Life Sciences (ILS), told reporters, “It cannot be said right now as to what would be the total number of positive cases in August as the virus has different strains.” The ILS is a research laboratory under the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, and plays an important role in COVID-19 policy making in Odisha.

In Odisha, most of the COVID-19 deaths are linked to pre-existing ailments or comorbidities, Dr Parida said. “Death of symptomatic patients with no comorbidity can be curbed if they are diagnosed and treated early,” the ILS director said.

Meanwhile, Additional Chief Secretary (ACS), Health and Family Welfare, P K Mohapatra, said that the state government is improving infrastructure for COVID-19 management in view of the rise in the infection tally.

As many as 200 more ICU beds will be added to the existing number of 500 ICU beds in the state, he said.

Most of the ICU beds will be in facilities in Bhubaneswar as it receives patients from across the state.

Patients from districts having a high load of coronavirus cases may be shifted to districts with less caseloads, he said.

Apart from having 35 dedicated hospitals across the state, the state government has developed several COVID Care Centres(CCC), COVID Care Homes (CCH) and Temporary Medical Camps in clusters for treatment of COVID-19 patients, Mohapatra said.

While critical cases are being admitted to COVID hospitals, moderate cases are kept in CCCs and mild cases in CCHs. Several PSUs and residential welfare units have been encouraged to set up CCCs with technical assistance from the states health department, the senior official said.

At present, 6,760 CCHs are operational in 6,798 gram panchayats, 1,482 cluster level TMCs have been set up with 71,754 beds and 14,094 persons are now in hospital isolation, the official said.


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