Tuesday, November 2, 2021

‘Outsiders’, aggressive testing pushing up numbers: Delhi Health minister – ET HealthWorld

NEW DELHI: On a day when 99 deaths were recorded for the second consecutive day and 6,396 new cases were reported, health minister Satyendar Jain on Tuesday said that aggressive testing of people, 25-30% of whom were not residents of the capital, was pushing up the numbers.

“There are many patients who are from outside, but give the address of their relatives in Delhi to get tested here. We can’t say no to anyone for testing or treating them,” said Jain, adding that most patients from other states were arriving here in a serious condition.

Till Tuesday, the number of new Covid-19 cases recorded in November stood at 1,08,892. This was the highest number of fresh cases in a month, surpassing the previous high of 1,06,991 recorded in October. However, since October, the number of tests being carried out daily has also increased. In all, 8,47,727 tests have been carried out in November till date, with an overall positivity rate of 12.8%.

Jain said that Delhi was carrying out 50,000-60,000 tests daily, the highest in the country. Around 29% of the capital’s population had already been tested. He added that the positivity rate was going down, which was more important than the number of positive cases.

“A week ago, the positivity rate was more than 15% and it seemed it would reach 20%. In June, the positivity rate was between 37% and 40%. Last week, it came below 13% and we can definitely say it is not increasing. We are going through a third wave, but the peak has gone now. The wave, however, is not over,” said the minister.

This month, 1,301 people have already succumbed to Covid-19, which is the highest figure for any month since 2,269 deaths were recorded in June, which saw the capital’s first wave of Covid-19. Since then, July witnessed 1,221 deaths, which dipped to 481 in August, rose to 917 in September and 1,150 in October.

“The overall death rate is 1.58%, which is close to the national average of 1.48%. At one point of time, Delhi’s death rate was 3.5-4%. In the last 10 days, the ratio was around 1%. However, even one death is not right. The number of patients has increased. While there are 9,000 patients in hospitals, the death rate is around 1%,” said Jain.

The minister added, “There are 16,500 beds reserved for Covid-19 patients. Even now, around 8,000 beds are vacant. Occupancy in private hospitals has gone up because many people coming from outside go there. The upper and upper-middle-class residents of Delhi, who have insurance, also prefer to go to private hospitals.”

Delhi government had requested Union home minister Amit Shah for additional beds in a meeting on Sunday and the central government agreed to provide 750-1,000 beds.

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