Coimbatore added 4,268 more cases to its Covid logbook and the active cases breached the 35,000-mark on Wednesday. Coimbatore’s curve has reached a ‘higher plateau’, say health officials.
One of the reasons for the continuing spike in Coimbatore is the presence of a large number of small industries. Most of these units were functioning till 10 days back when they decided to shut operations voluntarily. By the time, they had turned into micro clusters.
“For the past 10 days, majority of Covid cases are either industrial workers, their families or neighbours. In fact, one company alone accounted for 140 cases on a single day,” a health official said.
Officials recall that in the first wave too, gold jewellery units turned into hotspots which later spread to other industries. Similarly, garment units were cited as the reason for Tirupur’s sharp spike.
Another reason presumed to be cause for the spike was a large number of people under home isolation. As on Tuesday, 70% of the 34,253 active cases, or 23,890 cases, were under home isolation. “For every positive case, at least three to four of his family members test positive,” a senior officer from the health department said.
Home isolation could not be done away with because of an acute shortage of beds in hospitals.
Yet another reason is the free movement of people ranging from attenders and relatives of patients to auto/cab and ambulance drivers to and from hospitals, who are turning into super spreaders. There are several instances when such attenders or those who accompany patients have turned positive. They get into society and turn super spreaders, noted a volunteer.
“We have reduced the number of attenders extensively. Only in cases where patients are very old, sick and very dependent that they cannot even feed themselves, attenders are allowed,” Coimbatore Medical College Hospital dean A Nirmala said.
Over the past fortnight, the number of cases in rural areas was spiking sharper than in urban areas. State food minister R Sakkarapani said special efforts are being taken to control Covid in rural areas. “A Covid surveillance team comprising panchayat president, panchayat secretary, village administrative officer, nurse and a cop is being formed in all panchayats,” he said in Coimbatore.
Health officials are optimistic that the cases would decline soon. Deputy director of public health Dr G Ramesh Kumar said the second wave in Coimbatore began almost 10 days after it began in Chennai. “Chennai plateaued a week ago. So, we can expect a similar decline in Coimbatore next week,” he said.
Meanwhile, parts of south Tamil Nadu are also growing as a cause for concern. For the first time, Madurai reported more than 1,500 fresh cases on Wednesday and active cases crossed the 15,000-mark. Kanyakumari reported more than 1,000 fresh cases for the past 10 days. On Wednesday, it reported 1,116 cases. Health officials say the inter-state movement of people in Kanyakumari was the reason for the spike. However, there was a ray of hope in Tirunelveli and Tuticorin, which managed to bring down fresh cases to less than 1,000 initially and now to 500-odd.
(with inputs from M K Ananth)