Recent jump in coronavirus positive cases sends Chennai deep into red zone

Recent jump in coronavirus positive cases sends Chennai deep into red zone

Chennai is getting red hot with the number of people Covid-19 positive rapidly increasing in the last few days. On Tuesday, the daily average increase in Chennai stood at 9.4% compared to 3.7% in Tamil Nadu and 7.1% in India.

 Officials say population density and increased testing are the reasons for the high incidence. The average increase in cases for the last seven days is more than twice the state average. It is also higher than the national average.

According to Greater Chennai Corporation data, the city has tested 3,096 people per million population– the highest in the state until April 24. This means at least 1,600 swabs are drawn from Chennaiites every day. Theni district is next with 1,176 samples per million.

 “This is higher than state average, where 694 people per million are screened and the national average where 363 people are screened. We are seeing cases because we are tracking contacts and testing them. Most of our patients are asymptomatic,” said a senior civic official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Most cases in Chennai end up being a cluster of up to a dozen positive cases.

Clusters are visible among doctors and health workers, journalists, sanitary inspectors and conservancy workers, and vendors from crowded markets such as Koyambedu.

“Many of these people live in narrow streets and buildings with common staircases,” said a zonal health officer. For instance, a row of houses in Asirvadapuram in Pulianthope saw 25 people test positive in four days. A dozen vendors in Koyambedu market and a half dozen of them in Vadapalani market were infected. Each of these vendors had at least four or five contacts testing positive, within the family and in the market zone. In Choolai areas, at least a dozen frontline workers including conservancy staff of the civic agency have tested positive.