COVID19: With six fresh cases in a day, is J&K witnessing stage 3 of this pandemic?

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Srinagar, Mar 28: With Friday recording six positive cases in Jammu and Kashmir, speculations are that the COVID-19 pandemic has entered the community spread stage in the Union Territory.

Four among the six including an elderly couple tested positive for coronavirus in Srinagar, officials said on Friday.
As the day ended, two more cases from Rajouri district showed up taking the overall toll of positive COVID-19 cases to 20 in J&K.
“As we end the day,  two more positive cases confirmed -both from Rajouri District. One a family member of yesterday’s confirmed case, the other has a contact history with a confirmed (now deceased) case,” tweeted Government spokesperson Rohit Kansal.

The number includes a 65-year-old man from Srinagar, originally a resident of Sopore, who died on Thursday.

Sources said of the four gresh cases in Kashmir, two persons are aged 32 years and 37 years and are residents of Bemina Srinagar who had travelled to New Delhi and Haryana where they participated in religious congregations, possibly attended by foreigners. The other two persons are 62-year-old man and his wife from Chattabal area of Srinagar. The duo had returned from Saudi Arabia on March 16 and was part of the same flight boarded by an earlier positive case from Natipora and Kashmir’s first COVID-19 patient from Khanyar who, according to the doctors at SKIMS Soura, is recovering.
A doctor at CD Hospital said case histories show secondary transmissions in people with zero travel history.
“We are seeing patients who were in contact with the primary or secondary persons in the chain. There is a clear possibility that the virus has spread from these primary or secondary contacts to the community as well,” the doctor said.
Another doctor at GMC Srinagar said while officially the pandemic was not in stage 3 (community transfer) in Kashmir, the entire medical workforce was deeming it has happened.

As per government sources, the chain of infections that can be mapped is in a few hundreds in Kashmir.

“The tableeghi jamaat case forms the primary transmission and the chain, as far as we could map, has atleast a few hundred suspected contacts in it,” the sources said.

Meanwhile, an official told news agency GNS that the fresh four cases from Kashmir are presently admitted at Chest Disease Hospital (CD) Dalgate, Srinagar and their samples had been taken recently.  

In a related development, sources said, these some patients were referred in an ambulance to SKIMS medical college Bemina, which along with CD hospital is now covid-19 management hospital but they were sent back.
While sources said that doctors told them that SKIMS Bemina hospital was not ready for covid management yet, its Principal Dr Reyaz Untoo said: “No one was referred. The hospital is to be readied for (covid-19 management) by the end of this month.”

Dr Salim Khan, Nodal Officer for coronavirus for GMC Srinagar told GNS that 48 test reports were received on Friday and 44 of them came out to be negative and remaining four were positive for pathogen.
He said 60 fresh samples have been taken and their reports are awaited.
Professor Farooq Ahmad Jan, the medical superintendent of SKIMS, told GNS that 21 samples came out to negative on Friday. “These samples pertained to 15 from SKIMS and 6 from GMC Baramulla.” He said seven more persons with covid-19-like symptoms were admitted to hospital where 55 persons are in isolative while two persons were discharged.
The Government informed that 5763 travellers and persons in contact with suspected cases have been put under surveillance and, so far.
As per the daily Media Bulletin on novel coronavirus, 3136 persons have been kept under home quarantine (including facilities operated by Govt.) while as 169 are in hospital quarantine.
Persons who are under home surveillance stand at 1877 while as 581 persons have completed their 28-day surveillance period.
It said that 423 samples have been sent for testing of which 400 tested as negative. The bulletin further stated that 05 reports are awaited till March 27.

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A journalist by chance with over five years of experience in reporting, editing, and bucketing local, national and international content for my current organization. I have covered education, health, politics, and human rights. I like working for a daily, though I occasionally try my pen in long-form to connect personal narratives with history.

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