Karnataka sees spike in COVID-19 cases, but no major increase in hospitalisation

Doctors are asking the public to adhere to COVID protocols and get tested even in case of mild symptoms.
COVID testing in Bengaluru at a makeshift testing centre
COVID testing in Bengaluru at a makeshift testing centre

Karnataka has been seeing an uptick in the number of COVID-19 cases in recent days. While a few weeks ago the state witnessed daily cases in the region of 250, on Sunday the count stood at 456. Multiple clusters have been reported from educational institutions across the state. But health officials confirmed that even though there has been a rise in cases in the state, including in Bengaluru, there has been no substantial increase in the number of hospitalisations. Experts and officials say that severe cases too have been rare, with the majority of those testing positive showing mild to no symptoms.

Dr CN Manjunath, nodal officer of testing and member of the state-level technical advisory committee (TAC), said that the majority of these clusters are in residential schools and colleges. “Other than these clusters, there are no major outbreaks in other parts of the population. This is a time to be cautious, people should follow masking seriously and get themselves voluntarily tested even if there are mild symptoms like body ache and throat ache. Another important thing is that people who have not taken their second dose should take it immediately as vaccines are definitely effective even in the case of the Omicron variant.”

He too said that there has been no major increase in hospitalisation or severe cases, as a majority of the people testing positive were fully or partially vaccinated. He, however, said among the vaccinated a small percentage like the elderly having low immune response may suffer from severe infection once they contract the virus.

BBMP Chief Health Officer Dr Balasundar too said, “We’re not seeing any increase in hospitalisation or severe cases as we have good vaccine coverage. But we need to again concentrate on COVID appropriate behaviour like avoiding crowds and wearing masks.”

Following the state government’s directive, the BBMP is now sending 150 samples daily for genome sequencing, up from the 25 samples that were sent earlier. He said the BBMP is concentrating on testing only people who have symptoms.

Speaking with TNM, health officers from Shivamogga and Chikkamagaluru too confirmed that there were no major incidents of hospitalisation in their districts despite having two of the larger clusters in the state. By Monday, December 6, the cases in the cluster at the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya school in Chikkamagaluru went up to 107 while the number of cases in the cluster at the Nanjappa Institute of Nursing Sciences in Shivamogga district remained more than 40. In previous weeks, educational institutes in Dharwad and Tumakuru too saw large-scale outbreaks but there was no need for hospitalisation.

Increase in cases, drop in positivity rate

In Bengaluru, the number of COVID-19 cases reported for the week between November 27-December 4 was 1,362 while the number of cases in the previous two weeks were 1,082 and 1,079. This increase is due to the increase in the number of tests in light of the bunch of COVID-19 clusters in the state. Starting from November 29, the state increased daily testing to 1 lakh from 80,000 in light of the new Omicron variant which was expected to trigger a third wave of infections. Both the patients who were positive for Omicron did not see severe infection.

For Bengaluru, the positivity rate (the measure of number of positive patients per 100 tests) actually dipped over the week ending December 4 compared to the previous week. The positivity rate for the week ending December 4 was 0.47%, which is less than the 0.51% of the previous week. State-wide too the positivity rate improved to 0.38% from 0.39%.

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