Don’t be complacent, Nagaland H&FW reiterates as positivity rate rises

Source: IDSP, H&FW, Nagaland
Source: IDSP, H&FW, Nagaland

Morung Express News
Dimapur | September 19

Despite the drop in daily case detection during the week, the Department of Health & Family Welfare (H&FW) has called for caution. According to the Department, “Complacency appears to have set in after the Unlock-4 with non-adherence to standard safety measures.”

The call for watchfulness was backed by data contained in the latest weekly COVID-19 analysis published by the state Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme, H&FW on September 19. 

From September 9-14, Nagaland witnessed a sharp rise in detection, registering a record high of 310 cases out of 922 samples on September 11. The spike though was attributed largely to the armed forces, or to be more specific— an entire unit of Nagaland Police personnel returning home after serving in West Bengal. 

As per the latest weekly data, the positivity rate has continuously increased in the last 4 weeks touching a high of 12% out of a total of 3,546 samples tested in between September 12-18. It was 11% of 4,958 samples during September 5-11, 6% of 5,246 during August 30-September 4 and 4% of 4,186 during August 22-29. The positivity rate, overall, was 7.38% against the country’s 8.35%. 

It added that the current death rate in Nagaland is 0.19%, less than the national 1.62%. However, it said that mortality would get much higher once the virus affects the “high-risk groups” or people with underlying illnesses and senior citizens. 

It cited an ICMR study, disclosing that the prevalence of hypertension in the general population of Nagaland is 38% and diabetes- 5%. “About 5.2% of the population is above 60 years of age. There are many other risk factors apart from old age, hypertension and diabetes. Virus spread in the general population could be catastrophic,” it cautioned. 

At present only 0.3% of positive cases are said to have co-morbid conditions and 1% above 60 years of age. 

It reiterated, “Understanding that the main mode of transmission is from person to person, the community should strictly follow the 3W’s and avoid the 3C’s which is scientifically sound and proven.”

Case distribution
Overall, security forces personnel constituted 47% of the total confirmed cases, followed by returnees/travelers at 27%, traced contacts at 21% and frontline workers at 6%. 

Though not stated directly, it indicated a steady rise in local transmission, stating that the percentage of ‘positive traced contacts’ among the total confirmed cases rose to 21%, as on September 18, from 1 % in the second week of July. In total, 19,688 ‘contacts’ have been traced across the state, out of which 1,103 cases were positive. 

Government employees (32%) and household contacts (35%) constituted 67% of all ‘positive traced contacts.’ It said that this implies most infections happen at workplaces and in the household.

It termed as “alarming” a rise in positivity among students in the past two weeks, while adding that students constitute 17% of all ‘positive traced contacts.’ Majority of the positive traced contacts were in the age groups of 21-30 years and 31-40 years.

More than half of the 411 cases reported in between September 12-18 were armed forces personnel. As per the data, 230 were armed forces personnel, 137 were traced contacts, 36 were returnees/travelers and 8 were frontline workers.

529 cases were reported during September 5-11. 

Doubling, recovery…
It has been over 42 days since the last doubling of cases. The last doubling occurred on August 7, when the statewide total increased to 3,322 cases on August 7 from 1,693 cases on July 31. As on September 19, the total cases stood at 5,392. 

The recovery rate, at a little over 76%, remained almost the same as last week.  Testing rate improved to 35.57 per thousand, from 34 per thousand last week, against the national average of 46.36.  

The breakup of active cases as on September 18 was— 466 in military establishments, 582 in COVID Care Centres, 123 in Home Isolation and 42 in COVID Hospitals. 

The active cases dropped to 1,206 on September 19 with as many as 125 active cases in Home Isolation.