Chennai COVID positivity up, officials worried over hospital beds, oxygen

Civic body awaits protocol as youngsters catch infection in the second wave

Chennai civic officials are concerned about increasing number of youngsters reporting positive for COVID. PTI File photo.

The COVID positivity rate in Chennai has increased to 21 per cent in the last week of the month compared to the previous week when the rate was 20 per cent. The rise is worrying for the state government as the rising number of patients would require additional hospital beds and oxygen support.

While in the first week of April, Chennai’s positivity rate was 18 per cent, the same as in Mumbai. However, even as the rate in Chennai is increasing, in Mumbai it has come down to 10 per cent based on Monday’s Health Ministry data.

The stress due to higher positivity rate in Chennai is on the corporation and hospitals in and around the city and suburbs. “We are awaiting the new COVID protocol for the second wave in which youngsters are being infected,” said a senior corporation official.

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In the coming days, Chennai hospitals – both in public and private – may see the demand for beds increasing. “In the coming days, we will have more beds for those who need them. The Stanley Hospital is already turned into COVID hospital. But we need to bring down the positivity rate and also the total number of cases,” said a corporation official.

“Within the city, people who are within 60 years are likely to be infected as many of them have participated in election campaigns and other functions. The best way to prevent being infected is to get the vaccine jab as early as possible,” said former state health officer P Kuganantham.

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Last year we did not have any vaccine to prevent the virus from infecting people. “We had masks, social distancing and sanitizers last year. This year we have two vaccines and the best way to prevent being infected is to take the two doses of the jab,” said Kuganantham.

He said there must be a COVID protocol, especially on the use of oxygen. “Most government hospitals have the facilities to store oxygen, but many private hospitals are unable to do it,” said Kuganantham.

COVID data analyst Vijayanand hopes that the number of positive cases would come down soon. “For the last two days, the number of fresh cases in the city is less than those who have been discharged. This is good news, but the positivity rate is on the rise and this is worrisome,” said Vijayanand.

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