Coronavirus cases may have shot up by a whopping 14,000 in just over a month in Andhra Pradesh, but the state government said that the pandemic spread is at a "manageable" level right now.
'R naught', which indicates the scale of transmission of an infection in AP is now 1.2 to 1.3, indicating that the "numbers are under control," officials said.
"It becomes uncontrollable if R naught crosses 2," Special Chief Secretary (Health), K S Jawahar Reddy said. About 60-70 percent of the COVID-19 positive cases being reported now were asymptomatic, he pointed out.
The spurt in cases since June 1 was attributed to the easing of lockdown restrictions.
"There has been movement of people, from other states as well as abroad. That has led to the escalation of cases," the Special Chief Secretary said.
The state government has now tied up with United Nations International Children's Fund (UNICEF) to launch a 'Risk Communication and Community Engagement' programme to reach out to about 1.3 crore households across Andhra.
This was intended to inculcate "COVID-appropriate behaviour" among people.
"We have to respect COVID-19. We have to live with it, so we should have appropriate behaviour like wearing facial masks, maintaining physical distance, washing hands regularly and avoiding crowds," the Special CS said.
Jawahar Reddy said the number of positive cases was high in high-risk categories like the 60+ and 40+ age groups with comorbidities.
"We are conducting specific screening and testing of such persons and, depending on the severity, moving the patients to COVID-19 Care Centres and COVID Hospitals. Other cases with mild symptoms are being kept in home isolation," he said.
Of the 9,000-odd active cases in the state now, over 600 patients were in home isolation.
The Special CS said they have been adopting two strategies in testing, with one focusing on surveillance to detect how the virus was spreading. Construction workers, agricultural labour, shopkeepers, vegetable and fruit vendors and healthcare workers were being tested at random.
"In malls, the positivity rate is found to be 2.83 percent, among migrant workers 1.11 percent, healthcare workers 1.19 percent, in temples 1.16 percent. Among Aarogya Setu App users, the positivity rate (of coronavirus infection) was 2.7 percent, out of the 15,000 samples tested," he pointed out.
The second strategy in testing was to reduce mortality, he said.
"Early detection of the infection could save deaths. Each (COVID-19) death is indicative of 666 positive cases," Jawahar Reddy noted.
In Kurnool and Krishna districts in the state, the mortality rate was found to be 4.2 and 3.26 percent respectively.