In Punjab, more than 3 Covid deaths every day in August; 24 in last 7 days – The Indian Express

Even as Covid cases are once again rising across the country, deaths due to the virus have become a cause of concern in Punjab. While the positivity rate remained below 4% on most days, the state recorded 24 deaths in the past seven days (August 13-19).
In the first 19 days of August, Punjab registered 64 Covid deaths against 46 in entire July and less than half of it (22) in June. The state recorded just two and four Covid deaths in May and April, respectively. In April, the state saw total 505 Covid cases and the next month, the tally touched 774. In June, Covid cases saw a three-time jump and reached 2,631. At 9,524, Covid cases saw a further jump in July and finally settled at 6,870 in August. Even as the number of Covid cases seem to have been registering a decline in August, the deaths are on the rise.
While 303 people tested positive for the virus on August 19, two people died on the same day and the case positivity rate was 2.74%. August 18 and 17 saw more Covid cases and deaths in Punjab. While August 18 registered 365 Covid cases and a positivity rate of 2.95%, the state saw 354 positive patients and positivity rate of 3.25% a day before.
Three and four people died on August 18 and 17, respectively. While August 16 and 15 recorded six deaths each, the case positivity rate doubled in just one day. Independence day saw 184 patients testing positive in the state and the day after 224 cases were added to the tally. As on August 19, 96 patients were on oxygen support compared to 92 a day earlier. However, both days saw 36 patients in critical care.
While the health department indicated that most deaths are due to comorbidities data shows that testing and survelience have considerably decreased this year. On a daily basis, 10,000 – 14,000 tests are being conducted this year against 20,000 or more daily tests in 2021. Around 11,058 and 12,386 samples were tested on August 19 and August 18, respectively.
When asked, Dr Rajeev Bhaskar, nodal officer for Covid cases in Punjab, said that tests are conducted as per guidelines and after accessing the positivity rate. “This is sufficient for now. Even the fatality rate is on the lower side considering entire Punjab. Also, most of the victims had comorbid conditions. We have now started testing all patients in the hospitals with comorbidities,” he said, adding that some laxity in tesing could be seen in the past few months but now they are rectifying it. “Covid testing of cancer and heart patients or those with lifestyle diseases has been expedited now. The Punjab government has also made masks mandatory in crowded places from August 13,” he said.
Dr Bhaskar added that many patients have symptoms such as bodyache, loss of appetite, headache etc but they don’t go for testing as they don’t have fever. “Vaccines play a great role and all eligible people should go for precautionary dose soon,” he said.
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