A medic wearing a PPE prepares to collect samples for COVID-19 tests. (Photo | PTI)

Odisha adds 1 lakh coronavirus cases in one month,  became 10th State to cross 1.5 lakh mark

Health experts expressed concern as the State Government continues to lag behind several other high burden States in terms of testing.


BHUBANESWAR: With 3,913 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, Odisha became the 10th State in the country to cross 1.5 lakh mark. The State that took five months to register 50,000 cases, added more than one lakh cases in just one month. The first case was detected on March 15 and the tally had touched 50,672 on August 12.

At an average of 3,337 cases a day, as many as 1,00,135 new infections were found from across all the 30 districts between August 12 and September 12. The case positivity rate was around 6.21 pc during the period as 16,10,172 tests were conducted. Around 80 pc of it were rapid antigen tests.

Despite being one among the lowest in terms of fatality rate, the State has reported 321 deaths during the last one month with an average of 10 deaths a day. 

An analysis of the number of days taken to cross 50,000-mark shows it is getting increasingly fewer. While it took 150 days for the first 50,000 cases and 18 days for the second 50,000 cases, the last 50,000 cases were recorded in just 14 days.

In fact, among the 15 states with the maximum caseloads, Odisha figures in the top-seven states having the fastest daily growth rate. It is currently growing at 2.66 pc per day, compared to the national growth rate of 2.02 pc, and this is in an upswing right now.

Started late, Odisha has now surpassed the states like Gujarat, Assam, Kerala, Rajasthan and Haryana in terms of total confirmed cases. With 31,486 patients under treatment, it is the seventh state in the country as far as active cases are concerned.

The rate of the contagion that was on the upward spiral following a huge spurt in coronavirus infection among the returnee migrants in Ganjam since early July, further spiked exponentially from July 21 onwards when the State started registering more than 1000 cases a day. Although by mid-August the numbers declined in Ganjam, the surge continued in other regions including the twin cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack besides Rourkela and Sambalpur and tribal hinterlands of Rayagada, Koraput and Malkangiri. 

The coastal Odisha districts like Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Puri, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur also contributed to the tally considerably. As many as 17 districts have reported more than 100 cases with Khurda, Cuttack and Puri accounting for over 30 pc cases. 

Health experts expressed concern as the State Government continues to lag behind several other high burden States in terms of testing. The detection of infection would be more if the number of tests is enhanced.

Additional Chief Secretary of Health department PK Mohapatra said at least 2,000 more RT-PCR tests would be conducted per day after four new labs at Puri, Keonjhar, Angul and Jharsuguda start functioning by the end of this week. “We have planned around 10,000 RT-PCR tests and 50,000 rapid antigen tests a day. Odisha is the only State where most of the tests are done by the Government free of cost unlike other States where private labs play a major role,” he added.