Detection of delta plus variant in Pathanamthitta keeps health authorities on their toes

Testing to be expanded to ascertain if it is a one-off case

Even as the State continued to witness a sustained dip in fresh COVID-19 cases, the detection of delta plus variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in Kadapra grama panchayat has brought the health authorities in the district on their toes once again.

According to officials, the ward where the new variant was reported continues to remain a large community cluster with test positivity rate (TPR) of 18.42%. The panchayat, meanwhile, has recorded an even higher TPR of 26.5% and has been classified as ‘critical’.

Curbs on movement

Taking note of the situation, the local police have been directed to strictly control the movement of people to and from the region.

“Testing has been raised significantly with about 160 persons undergoing the RT-PCR test on Wednesday alone. Plans are afoot to expand the testing drive to the adjacent wards to ascertain if the new variant is a one-off case or not,” said A.L. Sheeja, District Medical Officer.

Besides strengthening the containment strategy, steps are also in place to shift the people residing here to domiciliary care centres. “The immediate priority is to bring down the active cases, which stand at 20. If required, an additional care centre will have to be opened for shifting the remaining people,” she added.

Official sources said the four-year-boy on whom the new variant was detected resides in a colony of about 40 families. Of the 10 members in his family, all but one had been diagnosed with COVID-19 during the second wave and have tested negative hence.

Of the remaining 57 local bodies in the district, the TPR in 18 remain well under 8% while it varies between 8% and 16% in 31 local bodies. The remaining seven have recorded TPR between 16% and 24%.

Isolation wards

In anticipation of a third wave of the pandemic, plans are afoot to open isolation wards with necessary infrastructure in all the five Assembly segments in the district using the asset development fund of legislators. This was decided during an online meeting of MLAs in Pathanamthitta, convened by Health Minister Veena George recently.

As per the plan, 15 new isolation units will be opened across various government hospitals in the district.

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