Covid-19 surge in Nagaland due to increased testing, say health authorities

A fresh spike in Covid-19 cases is sweeping through Nagaland with 710 new infections and two deaths being reported in the last five days.

The rise in cases is mostly because of increased testing and aggressive contact tracing being carried out, said Dr. Nyan Kikon, the state nodal officer for Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme. He said there was also an increase in the number of security personnel coming in from high risk places outside the state. Armed forces and security personnel constitute 45% of the state’s Covid-19 tally.

The official said that amid fears of new infections rising during the winter, the state’s health department along with the support of all the government agencies is preparing itself with all the available resources to face any surge in Covid-19 cases.

Dr. Kikon said it was too early to say if the reason for the recent spike in cases was due to recent festivities. “We need credible evidence. We cannot simply attribute the rise in the number of cases to the festivals or weddings or any such events that took place recently,” he said.

Earlier this week, the government sealed the secretariat for 48 hours for preventive measures to contain the spread of Covid-19 in workplace settings.

As of Thursday, Nagaland’s Covid-19 tally stands at 10,460 out of 1,07,276 samples that have been tested. The death toll in the pandemic is 48.

According to the health and family welfare department data, 8,955 people have recovered so far and there are 1,251 active cases now.

According to the health department’s data, traced contacts make up 29% of the total cases while returnees and travellers constitute 21% while 5% are frontline workers. Nagaland’s positivity rate of 9.3% continues to be higher than the national average although the state has maintained a good recovery rate, which has crossed almost 90%.

Households (31%) and workplaces (24%) are stated to be the most common places of infection among traced contacts.

“The state data of high household contacts clearly points toward living-room-spread and is a reason why Covid-19 cases are increasing. We should now pay attention to the peril of small gatherings among family and friends who may appear healthy, especially with the festive season around the corner,” the health department said in its last weekly bulletin.

It also underscored the danger of community spread linked to super spreader events such as festivities and weddings. “The danger of undetected transmission which will surface weeks later with cases and deaths after such events need to be taken into account,” the bulletin pointed out. While some events like weddings are unavoidable, the department officials advised that the organizers should ensure all safety measures are enforced.

They emphasized that the key is early and timely intervention of the limited treatments available.

“The treatment available for Covid-19 is very limited but the timing of interventions like oxygen, steroids, antivirals etc is extremely crucial,” officials stated.

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