KOLKATA: The city’s active Covid case-count dropped below 5,000 in end-August for the first time in 41 days. During these same 41 days, the total case-load increased three-fold.
According to the health department, Kolkata reported 5,155 cases on July 18, breaching the 5,000-mark for the first time. This number shot up to 7,041 on August 9, but the slide has been equally rapid in late-August. On August 30, active cases dropped to 4,969 cases, before a further drop to 4,709 the next day, August 31.
Comparing this to the rising number of cases in the city, the city had 12,682 Covid cases on July 18. On August 30, the total Covid count swelled to 39,713, increasing to 40,157 the following day.
Active Covid cases give a measure of the number of Covid-positive people who need medical attention.
“A part of the reason (for the fall in active infection count) is the revised discharge guidelines,” said Sanjukta Dutta, head, emergency medicine, at Fortis Hospital. “A Covid -negative test is not required unless the patient is very critical. So, the discharges are higher now, which is reducing the active Covid case count.”
“The primary reason is the spike in patients being discharged from hospitals,” agreed a senior health official. “In August alone, 19,069 people were treated and discharged from hospitals. Kolkata’s discharge rate is 85%, which is higher than the state’s discharge rate of 82.4%.”
“The underlying concern, however, is Kolkata’s high case fatality rate (CFR), which, at 3.2%, is more than Bengal’s CFR of 1.9%. The challenge is to address this high fatality in Kolkata, which is the highest in the state,” said the senior health official.
The sharp drop in Kolkata’s active Covid cases in August puts it behind North 24 Parganas, which now accounts for 19.7% of Bengal’s active cases. On August 30, when Kolkata slipped below the 5,000 active case mark, North 24 Parganas reported more active cases than the city. TOI had reported the rising Covid case graph of North 24 Parganas and the high positivity rate. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee had earlier expressed concern over the rising number of cases in that district to health officials and the district administration, including police.
The drop in active cases indicates both a slowdown in transmission and quick recovery, according to RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences (RTIICS) consultant Arindam Biswas. “This is an encouraging sign, particularly for hospitals which will find it easy to accommodate patients. Serious patients will now have a better chance of getting a hospital berth and fatality will come down,” Biswas said.