Silchar: The COVID-19 situation continues to worsen in Southern Assam Barak Valley, as record cases have emerged from the three districts: Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi in the past week.

According to figures shared by the health officials of the three districts, 478 people were infected with the novel Coronavirus till Saturday. This number is likely to rise more once more test results emerge from the Cachar district.

“The positivity rate of RAT test has increased to 10% in the district, which is alarming. We are conducting a targeted surveillance programme in areas having a high density of cases. We are isolating those who turn positive in the test,” Cachar health spokesperson Sumon Choudhury said on Saturday.

As per official sources, 3,841 people have been found COVID positive at Cachar district, till Friday, since the arrival of the second wave. Of these, 2,114 are males, 1,227 females, 70 children and 274 people over 60. At present, there are 1,214 COVID patients in the district undergoing treatment.

“Total of 5 persons afflicted to COVID, succumbed on Saturday out of which 4 are from Cachar and one from Karimganj district,” Silchar Medical College and Hospital spokesperson Dr Bhaskar Gupta said in a daily press briefing. The Silchar Medical College is the only Hospital in Barak Valley catering to the demand for ICU beds in the valley.

“Only those who are serious are admitted to the Medical College. Others are kept in different COVID care centres opened across the district,” Choudhury said.

Karimganj district reported 103 fresh COVID-19 cases on Saturday, pushing the coronavirus tally in the district to 5,794 since the pandemic began. Of the 103 active cases, 100 were found positive under the Rapid Antigen Test while three tested positive under the RT-PCR test. The district has altogether 696 active COVID-19 cases, while 127 patients have been discharged from hospital and home isolation on Saturday.

Hailakandi district reported 112 positive cases on Saturday, from which subtracting the 10 discharged patients, takes the district active cases tally to 640.

Six villages in Cachar district—five under the Katigorah circle and one under the Udharbond circle—were declared containment zones after the positivity rate in the villages crossed 10% in the last week. “It is felt to contain further spread of the virus …the villages must be immediately sealed” order from the DC office mentioned.

Meanwhile, Minister for Environment and Forest, Fisheries and Excise, Parimal Suklabaidya, took stock of the COVID-19 scenario in the three Barak Valley districts. He was appointed the minister-in-charge for COVID by Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

Suklabaidya, who chaired three separate meetings at the three district headquarters, monitored the various parameters of the COVID scenario given the rising number of positive cases. He also took stock of the availability of beds in hospitals and COVID Care Centres, oxygen cylinders, vaccines, medicines and COVID-19 testing facilities.

The Minister underscored the need for motivating more and more people to go for the COVID test. He urged the people to adhere to COVID-19 protocols, including wearing a mask, social distancing, and washing hands with soap to keep the dreaded virus at bay.

“The three districts of Barak Valley are interlinked. Therefore, all the district administrations must work collectively in bringing down the raze of the virus. We are ramping up our infrastructure to install more ICU beds in the different district hospitals, which will go on in addition to the current 129 ventilators supported beds at Silchar Medical College” the minister said after coming out of the review meeting at Silchar.

At Karimganj, the Deputy Commissioner Anbamuthan MP apprised the minister of a COVID Care Centre, comprising 20 railway coaches with a capacity of 320 beds and 40 oxygen support beds. “Suklabaidya appreciated the laudable initiative by the district administration and the railway authorities. The minister asked the administration to leave no stone unturned to arrest the spread of the disease and to ensure people’s active participation to defeat the COVID-19 scourge” a press statement mentioned.

He called upon the MLAs to create awareness on preventive measures, including wearing masks and social distancing in their respective constituencies to keep coronavirus away. “I would request all our MLA’s to continuously review the COVID situation in their respective constituencies in association with the district administration and the health department,” he said in Hailakandi.

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