Image for representation only Credit: Representational image

Kohima:Informing that the next three winter months will be “absolutely critical for the state in determining the fate of this pandemic”, the health and family welfare department of Nagaland said that total lockdown could be imposed in the state again in the event of an “uncontrolled spread” of COVID-19.

As per the state’s health department, the respiratory viruses thrive better in cold weather and low humidity conditions generally, and some laboratory experiments have shown SARS COV 2 Virus favour cold and dry conditions.

Europe is already witnessing the second wave with the arrival of winter and this time with more infections in the old, the medical department said. Weddings, festivals and social gatherings during winter along with indoor crowding and compromised natural ventilation are extremely high-risk settings. There will be a need for additional restrictions and strict enforcement of SOPs to control the spread.

Movement of people from outside the state and from urban to rural areas during the festive season will pose a high risk for the spread of cases beyond the urban areas. It said that all major pandemics saw a second wave after around 6 months which coincides with the upcoming winter months.

“This is a crucial time for the state to enforce all SOPs strictly and immediately,” it informed and warned all to follow the 3 W’s and avoid the 3C’s, or else it may even see “total lockdowns imposed again in the event of an uncontrolled spread”.

Also Read: Nagaland: COVID-19 death toll increases to 24 as two more confirmed

Positivity rate in Nagaland above national rate:

The sample positivity rate of the state is higher than the national rate at 9%. The health department informed that the weekly sample positivity rate has increased rapidly from 4% in the last week of August to 18% last week.

Weekly confirmed cases have also increased every week from the third week of September till date. Among the fresh cases detected in the past week till Friday, 56% were traced contacts from the community.

Symptomatic cases are witnessing a steady increase among the confirmed cases at the rate of 4%. Household contacts (28%) and Offices (24%) continue to be the two most common settings where infections are happening.

“We continue to see uncontrolled spread in closed settings like offices, restaurants, bakeries, religious communities, increasing risk elsewhere,” it informed.

Among the traced positive contacts, most infections have happened in the 21-40 years age group (52%) with students comprising 17 % of the cases. Positivity rate among cases attending flu clinics is 5% in the past two weeks. These cases either had symptoms or got tested for travel/ surgery/ medical purpose and had no history of travel or contact with a confirmed case.

The increasing positivity among patients attending flu clinics in hospitals has become a worry since many of them do not have a history of travel or known contact with a positive case, it said.

More than half of the COVID-19 cases have been detected from Dimapur (54%) followed by Kohima (30%). The death rate also slightly increased to 0.26%.

District distribution of active cases and sampling

The percentage of traced contacts among confirmed cases increased from 7% in July to 56% in the past week. The positivity rate increased to 9% this week from 8.5% last week.

On Saturday, the state also recorded 24 COVID-19 deaths out of 32 deaths in the state, and two deaths still are under investigation. All these COVID-19 deaths are certified by the state death committee as per ICMR and WHO ICD 10 guideline.

The health and family welfare department also advised all citizens to contact the state helpline (1800-345-0019) and quarantine themselves immediately if any symptoms develop.

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