Sources told TNM that at least 1200 COVID-19 cases from mid June have been added to the last three bulletins.

covid testing in bengaluru Representational image/PTI
Coronavirus Coronavirus Tuesday, June 30, 2020 - 15:02

Bengaluru reported over 2100 COVID-19 cases in the last three days alone, a sharp rise compared the previous weeks. The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner BH Anil Kumar conceded that a portion of the rise in numbers was due to to some 'accounting issues' and a reconciliation process. Sources in the state government however told TNM that the BBMP did not reconcile numbers for quite a few days, leading to the backlog.

Bengaluru recorded an increase of more than 300% in the number of COVID-19 cases from June 26 to June 27, going from 144 new patients to 596. On June 28, Bengaluru saw another jump, with 783 new cases reported. On Monday, Bengaluru Urban recorded 738 new COVID-19 cases, with the total number of patients in the district crossing 4000. 

Speaking with TNM, Commissioner BH Anil Kumar said a change in the window of recording newly detected cases earlier this month had led to some “accounting problems” in BBMP updating the daily numbers. He, however, emphasised no COVID-19 patient was delayed hospitalisation or left untraced.

“This is because some days back, we have changed our format (window of reporting) of reporting in line with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR),” said Anil Kumar. He explained that ICMR’s COVID-19 data is uploaded from 12 midnight to 12 midnight. While BBMP changed their format from June 15, the Commissioner said that earlier new cases would be tallied up to 9pm. As a result, he said, “Between 9pm to 12am in the night, ICMR used to receive slightly around one-third of the cases of the day. So that would have to be carried forward to the next day. There were some kind of accounting problems for this transition period.”

Anil Kumar explained, “We realized our problem around June 20 and that has led to some amount of reconciliation and this has led to the rise of the numbers. We have not missed any patient or delayed their hospitalization. All the patients were shifted, only the data reconciliation had not been done in line with the ICMR accounting.”

On June 15, when BBMP changed their format, Bengaluru had recorded a total of 725 COVID-19 cases, while five days later, 1076 patients had overall tested positive in the city. The city had recorded an average of 70 COVID-19 cases between the five days.  

The BBMP Commissioner, however, did not specify how many reconciled cases were added to the recent bulletins. 

Two independent sources within Karnataka's COVID-19 management team told TNM that the BBMP had started reconciling the data only after being prompted by the state government. The sources confirmed that around 1200 patients who had earlier tested positive for the coronavirus have been included in the last three COVID-19 bulletins. While one source told TNM that these 1200 COVID-19 patients had tested positive over a 10-day period beginning June 15, another source was unable to confirm the exact timeline of these cases. 

“They are now being stage managed by putting data of 300 such patients on average for the last 3-4 days,” the source said.

One source told TNM that state Chief Secretary TM Vijaya Bhaskar is aware of the matter. 

Sources in the Chief Minister’s office denied knowledge about the incident and claimed that the CM BS Yediyurappa has not been apprised about the issue. 

No source of infection in daily bulletins

In another significant development, between June 27, June 28 and June 29, the state COVID-19 bulletin had no mention of the source of infection for the new COVID-19 patients reported on those days. 

This was not restricted to patients from only Bengaluru but the entire state. There was no clarification by Health Commissioner Pankaj Kumar Pandey or Additional Chief Secretary, Health, Jawaid Akhtar why this was done. 

Until then, all bulletins had details on the source of infection, whether a patient had travel or contact history. 

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