With more and more people reaching Kerala from other states, the number of COVID-19 cases has seen a significant spike over the last several days. While the state government is trying its best to handle the situation, it is now grappling with another challenge: the source of infection in a few cases is still unknown.
Case in point: A 61-year-old woman from Kannur and a 43-year-old auto-rickshaw driver from Kasaragod districts. On Monday night, the woman died at the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital where she had been under treatment, taking the number of COVID-19 deaths in the state to 7.
The two patients were not earlier tested because they did not exhibit any COVID-19 symptoms. They were tested when they were brought to hospitals for other ailments.
The two cases
It was five days ago that the woman, hailing from Kannurâ€™s Dharmadom town, tested positive for coronavirus. According to Kannur District Medical Officer K Narayana Naik, the woman was admitted to a private hospital in Kozhikode district reportedly for a neurological disorder.
She was admitted to a local hospital in Thalassery on April 20 for urinary tract infection and metabolic encephalopathy, and was discharged on April 27.
On May 10, she was readmitted for the same issues, along with signs of aspiration, but discharged on May 17. However, as the symptoms persisted, she was transferred to a private hospital in Kozhikode, where she was diagnosed with COVID-19. She was then referred to Government Medical College in Kozhikode. She was in the Intensive Care Unit and on supplementary oxygen.
However, her condition started worsening by Monday. The Critical Care team decided to intubate and provide assisted ventilation. At 8.30 pm, she went into cardiac arrest and passed away.
â€śWe were told by the hospital that the woman was tested since her condition was a little serious. Her samples were sent to Aster MIMS, a private hospital in Kozhikode that is permitted to do COVID-19 test. She tested positive,â€ť Kannur DMO told TNM.
Making matters worse, four other family members of the patient â€” her husband, two children and granddaughterâ€” also tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in the following days.
This has put officials in a fix as they cannot trace the family member who first got the infection. â€śIt is a joint family, with many members. We have collected all their samples for testing,â€ť said the DMO.
Kannur Collector TV Subash on Sunday took to Facebook stating that three task forces have been formed to trace the contacts. He also asked people to remain vigilant against the pandemic.
â€śThough we have got some information on the possibility of a source, we cannot confirm it yet and need more clarification,â€ť the DMO added.
Meanwhile, the Kasaragod native, who tested positive for coronavirus two days ago, was taken to hospital following an accident.
The man, an auto driver by profession and a native of Kodom Belur in Kasaragod, suffered serious injuries after a jackfruit fell on his head when he climbed a tree to cut the fruit. Initially, he was taken to a local hospital in the district, from where he was soon referred to Kannur Medical College.
According to reports, the patient has sustained injuries to his spinal cord.
â€śHe is at present under treatment and is on ventilator support. Since we cannot get any details from him, it is difficult to trace his source of infection. He does not come from a containment zone either. We cannot ascertain yet if he contracted the virus as part of his profession as an auto driver,â€ť Kasaragod DMO Dr AV Ramdas told TNM.