Case graph spirals as 17,755 test positive in State


Kerala’s COVID-19 case graph continued to rise exponentially, logging 17,755 new cases, when 65,937 samples were tested in the past 24 hours.

The surge in cases has now forced the government to close schools again for a short period, while re-emphasising the restrictions on public gatherings and meetings and crowd management in public places such as malls.

Public health experts feel that given the high transmissibility of Omicron, even the current daily case count will be a gross underestimation because the virus is virtually unstoppable once it begins circulating in the community. With several case clusters being reported from across the State, community transmission is rampant and the case graph is expected to rise further in the next few days.

What is now worrisome is that hospitalisations have begun to climb, renewing fears that the sheer number of infections – albeit mild – will take a toll on the health system.

During January 8 to 14, the average active cases were 49,136, of which an average of around 1% only were admitted in oxygen beds and 1% were in ICU. New cases increased by 166% (43,410 cases), while active cases increased by 124% in comparison to the previous week. Hospitalisations increased by 22% and ICU occupancy by 7%.

The State’s active case pool is swelling. If the State had just 19,021 active cases on January 2, it has since then been rising and as on Saturday, the active case pool has 90,649 cases. In the past four days alone, the active case pool has added over 36,219 cases.

Of the total active cases now, 4% are currently admitted to hospitals or field hospitals. A total of 3,819 people were reported to have recovered from the disease on Saturday.

The number of patients newly admitted to hospitals is showing a definite increase and the figure went up from 257 on Monday to 420 on Wednesday and rose further to 596 on Saturday. Total hospitalisations have thus been growing slow and steady and on Saturday, 4,052 people were being treated for moderate or severe COVID in hospitals.

Current ICU occupancy of COVID patients, which had been remaining more or less steady, has been rising since the past three days and 604 patients are in ICU care as on Saturday. The number of patients requiring ventilator support is beginning to rise too and stands at 168 now.

The official cumulative COVID-19 case fatality now stands at 50,674, with the State adding 106 deaths to the official list on Saturday.

This includes 17 deaths which occurred in the past few days and 89 deaths which have now been accepted as COVID deaths by the government .

The State’s cumulative COVID-19 burden, ever since the pandemic began, now stands at 53,60,708 cases.

Among districts, Thiruvananthapuram reported the highest number of 4,694 new cases, Ernakulam 2,637, Thrissur 1,731, Kozhikode 1,648, Kottayam 1,194, Pathanamthitta 863, Kannur 845, Palakkad 835, Kollam 831, Alappuzha 765, Malappuram 708, Idukki 417, Kasaragod 317, and Wayanad 250.

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