Three out of 376 persons, who were admitted to hospitals for severe acute respiratory infection (SARI), have tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Tamil Nadu. This shows that the State is still in Stage 2 of COVID-19 transmission, according to Health Secretary Beela Rajesh.
“With more number of positive cases being reported, we lifted samples (throat and nasal swabs and blood) from 376 persons who had SARI and tested them simultaneously. Only three of them, who had contact with COVID-19 patients, tested positive. What this shows is that we are still in Stage 2 and community spread of COVID-19 has not yet happened,” she told reporters on Thursday.
This was why self-isolation and physical distancing should be adhered to, she said. “We are insisting on better care and isolation of vulnerable groups such as elderly persons, immunocompromised persons, persons with diabetes and hypertension.”
“What Tamil Nadu is doing differently is that we do not wait for clusters to happen to carry out containment plans. As soon as a person tests positive for COVID-19, our focus is on the containment plan. Several departments come together to take up the containment plan in full swing,” she said.
Dr. Rajesh said the containment plan was centred around the patient’s residence and any of his/her high-risk contacts. Till April 2, 5,000 field workers were involved and nearly 5 lakh population was covered under the containment plan.
She said while exclusive COVID-19 hospitals were notified in the government sector, some of the patients preferred private hospitals. “As per the Chief Minister’s order, we are notifying private hospitals too,” she said.
According to details available in the bulletin issued by the Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Chennai, topped the list in terms of number of positive cases. The city had 81 cases, with the biggest spike so far being on April 3 (35 cases). Dindigul climbed up the list with 43 cases followed by Tirunelveli with 36 cases and Erode 32 cases.
A total of 3,684 samples had been tested so far. Of these, 484 samples were under process. A total of 1,580 persons were admitted to isolation wards of various hospitals. The State has 23,689 beds in the isolation facilities.
A total of 5,080 persons had completed the 28-day quarantine period. A total of 86,342 persons were under active home quarantine and 105 in government quarantine facilities. Officials said it was important to ensure that those under home quarantine and those who test positive were not stigmatised.