Bhubaneswar: The COVID-19 tally in Bhubaneswar touched 640 on Saturday and 310 of these cases have been reported in the last 10 days.
In a press briefing, Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) Commissioner Prem Chandra Chaudhary said that 61 of these 310 are hospital-linked cases, 212 contacts of positive cases and with travel history, and 37 local contact cases.
Elaborating on the local contact cases, the commissioner said that the links of these cases could not be established initially, but the contract-tracing process later revealed travel history and connection with previous cases.
On the follow-up action being taken after detection of positive cases, he said: “In cases where linked are established, the patients are shifted to COVID hospital, contract tracing is taking up, direct and secondary contacts are quarantine and the area sanitised.”
In cases where links are not immediately established, the BMC carries out 14-day active surveillance in the area, quarantines 50 to 100 nearby households, all direct contacts are made to undergo COVID-19 test and a cluster declared as a containment zone if required, he added.
He took the instance of Bluewheel Hospital, which was sealed, to explain the strategy further. “Total 43 cases were reported from the hospital and 41 of them have recovered. The remaining two patients have co-morbid conditions and are in the age group of 65 to 72 years,” he said.
The commissioner said that 250 staff of the hospital were asked to undergo quarantine and all of them later tested negative for the virus. “This is how one case has been properly closed,” he said.
A similar strategy was adopted at Mancheswar, where 38 people working in an industry had tested positive for the virus, he said.
Speaking about two slums — Subhash Nagar and Laxmi Bazaar — in the city, Chaudhary said 14 rounds of active surveillance were carried out and the areas declared as containment zones to check the spread of the virus.
“We have a different management strategy for slums. We immediately shift those with COVID-19 symptoms to quarantine centres without waiting for test results to prevent the spread of infection,” he said.
The commissioner attributed the success in containing the virus to community participation — slum committees, 120 peer leaders, ward committees, puja committees, residents welfare association and Sacketak committees. “This is the SOP of the BMC,” he said.
Talking about the challenges, he said that there has been a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in the city because of critical care patients being admitted to healthcare institutions and those coming from hotspot districts for healthcare and other work. “The violation of social distancing norms at public places, particularly at markets remains a concern,” he added.