Chennai: At least three out of every five Covid-19 patients in the state were admitted to hospitals on Monday when 11 people tested positive for the viral infection.
“Self-testing is now largely done by cautious and curious people,” said public health director Dr T S Selvavinayagam. The state has now recommended RTPCR tests only for people with fever, cold, cough and breathless symptoms. Tests before and after travel, before hospital admissions or ahead of VIP visits, are not mandatory anymore. “People who want to rule out Covid-19 fearing they may infect family members are the ones who opt for self-test. Doctors mostly recommend tests for people who have a fever with breathlessness or severe cough,” he said. But even among those with symptoms, the average weekly positivity rate is less than 0.5%, he said.
On Monday, of the more than 4900 samples testing 11 returned positive. Thirty one of the 38 districts in the state had no new cases. While 15 districts had no active cases of Covid-19 another dozen had just one case each. While Chennai and Kanyakumari had three cases each, there was one each in Krishnagiri, Kancheepuram, Salem, Coimbatore and Chengalpet. Seventy-one of the 112 Covid patients were in hospitals.
“The trend of new cases now nearly mirrors the new cases we saw in the first few days of the infection,” said a senior public health official. “The only difference is there is no panic. We are not searching for an infected person, tracking his movements using mobile towers, or screening his relatives. We have the tools to manage and treat the infection,” he said. The number of people testing positive for the viral infection is likely to be higher as results of RAT tests (done with self-testing kits) are not added to the state registry. “But that is no longer a worry because people who have moderate or severe illness now reach the hospital early,” he said. The number of deaths due to Covid has also come down drastically over the last few months.
Virologists say that the disease is in the endemic phase, and it will continue to co-exist with other infectious diseases for some more years.
“There can be a surge when there is a new variant but as of now, we have managed to keep the disease under control,” said Vellore-based virologist Dr Jacob John.