Local transmission rate in Thiruvananthapuram and Thrissur dists a cause for worry

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  A comparative analysis of Covid-19 outbreak through local contacts in the third phase in Kerala shows that Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur and Wayanad fare poorly in checking the spread of virus through local transmission. The local transmission rate in the third phase in Kerala is 9.07 per cent, i.e. nine people test positive through local contact for every hundred imported cases tested positive in the state. Of the 14 districts, the local transmission rate in eight districts is above the state average of local transmission.

Of these eight critical districts where local transmission rate is above the state average, the situation in Thiruvananthapuram and Thrissur raises concern. 16.61 per cent of the total cases in Thrissur is now locally transmitted followed by Thiruvananthapuram with 15.38 per cent. In Wayanad, the local transmission rate is 30.13 per cent, but the total number of cases tested positive in the hill district is very low when comparing with other districts.

The highest number of locally transmitted cases is reported from Malappuram, but it is still way behind the three districts considering the total number of cases. Palakkad registered the highest number of total positive cases in Kerala since May 4 with 549 cases, including 499 imported cases and 50 locally transmitted cases, which is 10.02 per cent of total imported cases.

But the situation in Thiruvananthapuram is emerging as more serious where the source of local transmission of around 20 cases is not properly known, according to reports.  Further, the fact that around 20 health workers were infected in a total of 59 locally transmitted cases in Thrissur has shocked the health department.  K J Reena, former additional director (Public health) and present DMO, told TNIE that the virus spread among health workers in Thrissur was anticipated, but their number was beyond the expectation of the department. But now things are under control.

“We have prepared a projection based on the number of people coming to the state. As per the projection starting from the first week of May, after the eighth week the spread would be on the wane in the district,” she said. In the case of local transmission, she pleaded the public to comply with the standard operating procedure suggested by the health department.

However, there is a greater possibility for a margin of error in tracing the contacts of  locally transmitted cases, especially of those whose source of infection is not known, which will play a pivotal role in the silent transmission of the virus in the coming days, admit health experts. Sekhar L Kuriakose, member secretary, Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA), said the KSDMA is better prepared to face the situation. Although the number is very high in the third phase, the rate of local transmission was higher in the first and second phases than the third phase. The agency is reviewing the preparedness each day after analysing the situation, he said.

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