CHENNAI: Nearly two months into the lockdown to arrest the spread of Covid-19, Tamil Nadu’s case count touched 13 ,191 on Wednesday, second highest in the country after Maharashtra.
While more passengers from abroad and other states continuing to test positive, old problems such as poor living conditions in containment zones and spillover from the Koyambedu market cluster were also contributing to the daily rise in hotspot Chennai, which now has a case tally of 8,228. The toll rose to 87 after three more people died.
Of the 743 new infections reported on Wednesday, 83 were people who had travelled back to 13 districts from Maharashtra by road. While 21 were tested at checkposts in Thoothukudi, 16 were screened in Tirunelveli and 11 in Tiruvannamalai.
Of the remaining 660 cases, 557 were from Chennai and 58 from neighbouring Chengalpet. Tiruvallur reported 23 cases and Kancheepuram had four. In the central region, Pudukottai, which had no new cases since May 15, reported six cases — five from Maharashtra. All cases reported in Dindigul, Kallakurichi, Krishnagiri and Madurai were from Maharashtra. Health minister C Vijayabaskar said the state has launched a micro plan for 33 containment areas in Chennai city Namma Chennai Corona Thaduppu Thittam – where more than 500 newly appointed health inspectors will fan out for a door-to-door screening of patients with influenza-like symptoms. The screening will begin in Royapuram, where we have maximum number of cases with 156 health inspectors. “We will chase the virus now,” Vijayabaskar said. “If they have flu, a mobile unit will also do a chest X-ray to see if they have chest congestion, a symptom of respiratory infection. We have deployed 14 mobile X-ray machines for this. Tests will be done on people with fever or congestion,” he said. Besides a spillover from the Koyambedu cluster, poor living conditions in Royapuram, Thiru Vi Ka Nagar and Pulianthope areas have contributed to the spike in cases. “Many people live in less than 100sqft row houses. They share drinking water and toilet facilities. Transmission is rapid despite preventive measures,” he said launching a “robot” autorickshaw, which will spray disinfectants in the area.
At the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, doctors started the clinical trial for plasma therapy with one of their patients as a part of the national trial, while officials from the state health department were drawing up protocols for the vulnerable populations such as the elderly, people with diabetes, hypertension, heart or kidney failure under the guidance of 11 sub-committees.
In the last 24 hours, the state has screened 11,441 people for the viral infection. While RT-PCR tests have been completed for all 2,139 international air passengers except one, reports are awaited for 1,308 of the 3,891 passengers who came from other states by train. There were 54 people in airport quarantine. These passengers reported positive after first screening. Eighteen other passengers who tested negative on arrival turned positive during the exit screening after a week.
Three people were in railway quarantine. There were 7,466 patients in hospital isolation, Covid-19 care centres and home isolation.
A 44-year-old woman and a 52-year-old man died at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital on Tuesday, while a 70-year-old woman with heart disease died at the Covid-19 ward in Stanley Medical College Hospital the same day.