Over 20,000 COVID-19 suspects traced in a week in J&K

Medicos wearing protective gear walk inside a disinfecting tunnel before entering LD hospital in Srinagar – (Photo: KM/Umar Ganie)

Around 100 people being tested for virus each day

Srinagar: Government has tracked over 20,000 suspected coronavirus cases during the last one week and added them to its surveillance list in an effort to contain the pandemic in Jammu and Kashmir. 

The growing numbers, however, are also a cause of concern given how the Covid-19 positive cases have seen a sharp increase in J&K.

With at least 31 new positive cases, 28 from Kashmir alone, emerging since Saturday morning, the overall number of confirmed cases in J&K has shot up to 106.

Official data of the last one week shows a meteoric rise in the number of suspected cases.

For instance, till March 30, the J&K administration had put 11,644 travellers and persons with contact with suspected or positive cases under surveillance.

Till Sunday, the number shot up to 33,503.

The numbers include 27,318 in home surveillance, 100 in hospital isolation, 619 in hospital quarantine, and 5,566 persons who have completed their 28-day surveillance period.

Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick while as quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. These people may have been exposed to a disease and do not know it, or they may have the disease but do not show symptoms.

The number of positive cases in J&K too saw more than 200 percent increase from 48 cases on March 30 to 106 till Sunday afternoon.

While, the number of coronavirus tests performed by the administration too has doubled in the same period, it is no match to the actual number of people being put on surveillance on a daily bases.

Till March 30, J&K had tested 722 samples for coronavirus. A week later, that number is at 1551.

On an average daily, the administration tracks and places 3600 people in J&K under surveillance and conducts around 130 tests.

The cause of concern, however, is how Kashmir is fast turning into a hotspot of coronavirus since the region’s per million case numbers are quite high.

The population of the region is roughly around 7 million. Of every million people here, 12 are infected with the virus.

The biggest tertiary care hospital in Kashmir, SK Institute of Medical Sciences, Soura, is treating at least 24 coronavirus positive patients admitted to the hospital.

Director of the hospital, Dr AG Ahanger, in an official statement, pointed out that Kashmir was “on a threshold of observing massive influx of patients.”

“With spike in COVID-19 patients in UT of Jammu & Kashmir, SKIMS in            co-ordination with government and other designated nodal agencies is managing the pandemic through rigorous measures,” said Dr Ahanger.  

He added that administration was working on “war footing and taking all possible measures to tackle the crisis and to ensure the safety of community at large.”

Another doctor in Srinagar warned that threat “looms over our head.”

 “Gentle reminder to all that the threat of the virus is still far from over. It looms over our head even though it may not always seem so. Please continue maintaining social distance, wash your hands, and practice cough etiquette. Do not lower your guard,” tweeted Principal Government Medical College, Srinagar, Dr Samia Rashid, on Sunday

On March 24, Dr Naveed Shah, the head of the department at Srinagar’s Chest Diseases Hospital, too had asked people to stay indoors as “testing times” were ahead.

“Testing times ahead. APPEAL….please stay indoors…. cooperate with administration and health authorities…… take preventive measures … it may be too late by the time u realise it,” Dr Shah tweeted.

The region is under a strict lockdown for the last 18 days as people are complying with government directions to remain indoors in order to contain the virus.

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About the Author

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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