Mysuru sole district in Karnataka under total lockdown, TPR three times that of state

Mysuru to date has reported nearly 1.65 lakh Covid-19 cases and 2,046 official deaths. Of these, over a lakh new infections and 963 fatalities were recorded from the second week of April this year as part of the second wave.

With the exception of Mysuru, all districts of Karnataka have recorded a decline in new Covid-19 infections and exited total lockdown.

On Tuesday, while the overall test positivity rate in the state stood at 2.87 percent, the same for Mysuru was 8.4 percent. There has only been a marginal decline in TPR in the district over the last three days. On the weekend, it was 10 percent. The district is the only one in the state where a total lockdown is in place.

Mysuru to date has reported nearly 1.65 lakh Covid-19 cases and 2,046 official deaths. Of these, over a lakh new infections and 963 fatalities were recorded from the second week of April this year as part of the second wave.

A look at the district-specific Covid data indicates why the BS Yediyurappa-led government has decided not to provide exemptions in the district even though there’s huge public clamour for relaxations.

Though the active caseload in Mysuru has declined from a high of 14,606 to 6,122 cases at present, the rate of hospitalisation has actually seen an increase. Over 28 per cent (1762 in total) of active Covid patients are under treatment at hospitals as of June 22 compared to 22 per cent (2252) at the beginning of the month. The district, during the same period, has reported 407 fatalities, only second behind Bengaluru Urban among the 30 districts of the state.

Dr K H Prasad, Mysuru district health officer, admitted that the rate of decline in new Covid infections and fatalities was much slower in the district in comparison with the rest of the state.

“However, we have identified qualitative testing as a revised strategy to identify more infections. By following this method, we focus on testing a particular population that has a high probability of getting infected. A cross-section approach towards community surveillance with intensified phone tracing and door-to-door tracking is also working better,” the DHO said.

Dr Prasad said the district administration had faced a hurdle in identifying primary contacts as most patients chose not to reveal such details with honesty. “We have been looking at the possibility of finding at least 10 primary contacts for each person contracting the infection. However, in most cases, due to the lack of public cooperation, we could trace no more than four. The new strategy aims to bridge this effectively,” he said.

Another health official pointed out that the violation of home isolation protocols was also a reason for the large transmission of the disease. “Several Covid-19 patients were observed to breach guidelines stipulated by the government. When our officials make calls to check on them, they would choose not to answer and instead interact with others at home and in the neighbourhood. We have been trying to convince more people to get admitted to Covid Care Centres now to ensure better surveillance,” the officer said. More beds have been added, he underlined.

Explaining the revised strategy, DHO Prasad added that the district authorities were now keeping track of daily cases at a decentralised taluk level in a bid to identify more clusters to break the chain of transmission. “Mysore City continues to record most cases (249 on Tuesday) followed by Hunsur (52), K R Nagar (47), Nanjangud (36), and Periyapatna (34). More teams have been deployed in these areas to intensify all containment measures,” the DHO said.

However, when asked about the identification of Karnataka’s first Delta Plus variant case of Covid-19 in Mysuru, DHO Prasad said it was “not alarming” at present as the sample was collected in the first week of May. “The patient is fine and none of his contacts has contracted the same variant. However, we can reconfirm that no other instances of this variant were identified in any other patients in the district only when the results of the next pool of random samples undergo genomic sequencing,” he said.

Meanwhile, a senior doctor at the Mysore Medical College and Research Institute said high blood glucose levels are being seen in several non-diabetic patients after the second wave, especially since in the last three weeks.

“There have been alarming cases where the levels have shot up to as high as 650 to 700 as we suspect a new mutant,” he said, adding that the samples from such patients have been drawn randomly and sent to Bengaluru for genomic sequencing. “We are yet to ascertain the presence of a new mutant as the new heads of the district administration are in discussion with experts to find ways to tackle a possible adverse situation due to this.”

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