No let up in detection of cases in the community

Health Dept calls for greater caution as festive December approaches 

Morung Express News
Dimapur | November 28

As Nagaland continues to report high COVID-19 incidence, the health department called for greater community caution. The cautioning assumes significance with festive December nearing and data pointing to higher frequency of detection of positive traced contacts in the community and higher hospital admissions with symptoms.  

As per the latest COVID-19 weekly (November 21-27) roundup, issued by the state Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP), Health & Family Welfare, Nagaland, on November 28, more than half of the confirmed cases reported during the week were traced contacts. 

Of the 483 cases reported from the week, 67 percent (traced contacts) were detected in the community. For comparison, 124 were security personnel, 19 frontline workers and 18 returnees/travellers. 

This week reported 41 hospital admissions, the highest so far recorded in one week. It implied a 52 percent increase in COVID-19 hospital admissions from the previous week (27 admissions) “signifying rise in symptomatic cases (moderate, severe or critical cases).”

Avoiding community gatherings has been a frequently repeated advisory, however, infection in households is turning out to be a big worrying factor. 

“The data of high household contacts clearly points toward “living room spread” and is a reason why COVID-19 is increasing. We should pay attention to the peril of small gatherings among family and friends who may appear healthy especially with the festive season around the corner,” it said.

Positivity rate among household contacts at 29 percent (1234 cases) was higher than the office-goers (25 percent or 1048 cases). Further, the positivity rate among students rose to 19 percent.

Detection of cases among people attending flu clinics (for pre-op screening/travel purposes or with symptoms) increased to 11 from 10 percent, previously. 

Mortality, high sample positivity
The death toll increased to 57 with 7 confirmed COVID-19 deaths reported during the week. November has so far reported 23 deaths as opposed to the 16 in October. 

Majority (68 percent) of the victims have been below 60 years of age with 26 bracketed in the 30-49 years age group. 11 were in their 50s, 7 in their 60s, 7 in their 70s, 4 in their 80s and 2 in their 20s. the overall mortality rate increased to 0.51 percent from 0.47 percent. 

The sample positivity rate was at 9.9 percent, well above the national average of 6.8 percent, placing Nagaland among the states with the highest positivity rates in the country.

This week’s positivity rate was 12 percent of 4007 samples, dropping from the 23 percent recorded last week. 

As on November 28, Nagaland had tested a total of 1, 12, 347 samples. 

Tests, recovery, hospital occupancy
Despite a clearly high sample positivity rate, there was no sign of the state government pacing up testing. As the country races ahead, crossing the century mark (101.7 tests per thousand), Nagaland was testing 54.9 samples per thousand. 

The recovery rate increased to 87.4 percent from 85.8 percent, previously. 

Occupancy in the COVID Hospitals was tipped at 10 percent of the available beds across the state. Broken down to individual districts, the hospital occupancy worked out to 29 percent in Dimapur, 22 percent in Dimapur, 14 percent in Peren, 7 percent in Tuensang and 1 percent in Mokokchung. 

Dimapur and Kohima has had the most number of hospital admissions at 735 and 319, respectively, followed by Zunheboto-81, Tuensang-57, Peren-54, Phek- 31, Mon-28, Kiphire and Peren- 6 each and Mokokchung- 5. 

The current occupancy at COVID Care Centres (CCC) was stated to be 18 percent against a total admission of 6018 cases, till date. The number of cases placed under home isolation, till date, was tipped at 2350.

This segment of the data regarding occupancy came with a disclaimer that military facilities were not accounted for. 

Case distribution, contact tracing
The percentage of positive traced contacts comprised 38 percent of the total of confirmed cases, returnees- 16 percent, armed forces personnel- 41 percent and frontline workers- 5 percent. 

As on November 28, 5 percent (57) of the active cases were in COVID hospitals, 29 percent (350) in CCCs, 18 percent (221) in military establishments and the rest in home isolation. 

The most common symptom present in symptomatic cases has been fever, which was recorded in 77 percent or 390 of the 506 symptomatic cases (as on November 27). Cough was the second most common feature with the IDSP stating that it was recorded in 51 percent or 259 symptomatic patients. 

A total of 30,824 contacts have been traced, of which 12,815 are primary contacts, by surveillance teams.

COVID-19 has infected more than 60 million across the globe with more than 1.4 million reported deaths. The past week saw some decline in general incidence of cases but death rates continue to rise as infections increase in the high-risk groups. The European region remains the largest contributor of new cases and deaths. The USA has reported the maximum number of cases and deaths as a country.