One in four test Covid positive as Kerala sees over 40K new cases

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday expressed grave concern over the spike in cases in the state with 41,953 people turning Covid positive after 1,63,321 samples were tested in the past 24 hours.

"Things are serious as the test positivity rate (TPR) also is not coming down and hence, ward level committees and medical students also will now be actively involved. Apart from that, those medical graduates, who are waiting for registration, will be given temporary registration, which will enable them to get to work," he said.

The TPR on Wednesday stood at 25.68 per cent and the total number of active cases in the state were 3,75,658, while 23,106 people were cured, taking the total recoveries to 13,62,363.

Vijayan said that at the moment, there is no shortage of oxygen and 38.7 per cent of ICU beds are vacant in state-run hospitals.

"With regards to the ventilator availability in the government hospitals, 27.3 per cent are under use, while in the private sector, of the 1,523 available ventilators, 377 are under use. Likewise, 51.28 per cent of oxygen beds in the public and 66.12 per cent in the private health care sectors are under use now," he added.

Vijayan said arrangements are being made to ensure that lodges and hostels are identified and will be kept ready if a need arises.

Fire and oxygen audits have commenced at all hospitals to ensure that all the systems are in order and the oxygen requirement is checked on a daily basis.

"By now, private hospitals have kept aside 25 per cent beds for Covid patients and talks are going on to increase it to 50 per cent. Checks will now be made at all Old Age homes. Every local body in the state will ensure that they set up a help desk. It has also been decided to vaccinate the tribal community and it would be done in their place itself," he added.

Vijayan also pointed out that studies have now come out, holding that for better efficacy of vaccines, it is best that if the doses are taken after three months.

The state's worst-affected districts include Ernakulam, Kozhikode and Thrissur, whilecases in Alappuzha also have started to climb.

The Chief Minister also said that the police will, in cases of urgent need, ensure medicines are delivered at people's homes and for this, a call centre has opened in the state police headquarters.

"Meanwhile, it has also been decided that even if people turn Covid positive, if there is no immediate need, they can remain at their residence, which will enable those who need hospital attention to get it. Things will turn out of hand if all are admitted to the hospitals," he said.

With Ramadan coming to a close, Vijayan called for this year to be like the previous year when all the people cooperated.

On Wednesday, Rs 54 lakh was collected from those who violated Covid protocols which included not using masks and for failing to maintain social distancing.

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