Seven districts, including Chennai, accounted for the majority of new coronavirus infections on Wednesday, January 5, as Tamil Nadu reported a massive surge with 4,862 fresh cases pushing the state's tally to 27,60,449, the Health Department said. Nine more people succumbed to the contagion, taking the toll to 36,814, the Health Department bulletin said. Those who tested positive, included 38 returnees from domestic and overseas locations.
After witnessing a declining trend for several weeks, Tamil Nadu has been reporting a sharp increase in new infections since last week. The state had recorded 2,731 new cases on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, 688 people recovered from the disease and were discharged in the latest 24-hour period, aggregating to 27.07 lakh recoveries. With this, the state has 16,577 active cases at present. A total of 1.17 lakh samples were tested in the last 24 hours, pushing the cumulative number of specimens examined to 5.79 crore.
The sharpest increase in fresh infections was reported from Chennai with 2,481 cases, followed by Chengalpet with 596, Coimbatore with 259, Tiruvallur with 209, Vellore with 184, Kancheepuram with 127, and Tuticorin with 123, while the remaining was spread across other districts. Chennai had reported 1,489 new cases on Tuesday. As many as eight districts reported new infections in single digits while Mayiladuthurai added the least with three new cases, the bulletin said.
On the status of Omicron variant, the bulletin said the total cases remained at 121 with 110 people being discharged, leaving eight active cases. Three cases were cross-notified to Kerala, Puducherry and Andhra Pradesh, it added.
Minister for Health and Family Welfare Ma Subramanian said the Health Department would conduct the 18th edition of mega vaccination camp on Saturdays, as Sundays have been declared as a full lockdown by the government in its efforts to contain the spread of the contagion.
Read: Tamil Nadu announces Sunday lockdown, night curfew: Details
‚ÄúThis week the vaccination camp will be held on Saturday (January 8). Last two Saturdays, we had Christmas and New Year Celebrations, respectively. Therefore, the vaccination exercise was conducted on Sundays. This week onwards, the camp will be held on Saturdays, since Sundays have been declared as full lockdown (by the state government),‚ÄĚ he told reporters.
To a query, he said over five lakh people between the age group of 15 to 18 years have received the vaccination on Tuesday. Chief Minister MK Stalin formally inaugurated the vaccination drive for adolescents on January 3 targeting to vaccinate the 33 lakh eligible people in the state.
Meanwhile, Health Department Principal Secretary J Radhakrishnan said those affected by the Omicron variant of novel coronavirus were ailing with infection on their upper respiratory tract and there was no severe infection caused to their lungs.
‚ÄúThose patients (in Tamil Nadu) who were affected with Omicron were having infection on their upper respiratory tract unlike severe infection caused to the lungs (due to delta variant of COVID-19) That is some sort of comforting information But at the same time, we cannot rule out that Omicron variant will not affect the lungs,‚ÄĚ he said.
Radhakrishnan said the government has stepped up the health infrastructure with 1.16 lakh beds readily available to treat COVID-19 patients in the state of which the occupancy level was below 5 percent. Chief Minister Stalin inaugurated a 800-bed facility at Chennai Trade Centre, Nandambakkam on Tuesday, he pointed out. For COVID-19 patients who require oxygen support, Radhakrishnan said the department has readied 217 oxygen generators at its storage facilities.