Sikkim: 20% of COVID-19 deaths in second wave linked to delayed hospitalisation
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Gangtok: Sikkim reported 87 COVID-19 fatalities without any co-morbidities — accounting for 49% of the total number of deaths in the state — in the second wave of the pandemic since April this year, said the latest data submitted by the health department to chief minister PS Golay on Thursday.

As many as 94 cases were were attributed to COVID-19 deaths with co-morbidities in the second wave, the data added.

The data of the second wave of coronavirus was submitted as part of a high-level meeting on COVID-19 management on Thursday.

In all, the state reported 181 COVID-19 deaths in the second wave. Thirty-three per cent more people succumbed to COVID-19 in the second wave than in the first wave, as per the data. Around 155 per cent more number of new COVID-19 cases were detected in the second wave compared to the first wave.

In the first wave, only 24 deaths were reported due to COVID-19 which accounted for only 18 per cent deaths directly linked to the coronavirus, while 112 of the 136 deaths had co-morbidities.

The second wave has a case fatality ratio (CFR) of 1.1 per cent maintaining 0.70 per cent in April, 1.44 per cent in May, 1.03 per cent in June and 0.44 per cent in July, the data revealed.

Surprisingly, the CFR was 2.12 per cent in the first wave which had recorded 6,428 cases from 86,548 tests conducted in the state, maintaining a positivity rate of 7.4 per cent.

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While addressing the media on Friday, health director general Dr Pempa Tshering Bhutia said: “The higher rate of COVID-19 deaths were witnessed because people didn’t come to the hospital or reported when their condition got really deteriorated.”

Meanwhile, the hospital admission ratio steadily declined in Sikkim from 17 per cent in March to 8.7 per cent in May, and 9.76 per cent in June during the peak of the second wave. The hospital admission rate for the 15 days of July was 6.23 per cent.

The recovery rate has been a matter of concern with the state steadily maintaining a lower rate compared to the national average. While the recovery rate was 87 per cent in April, it dropped down to 71 per cent in May, scaling back to 87 per cent in June and edging to 88 per cent in July so far.

With 3 per cent more testing than the first wave in just three months of the second wave, from March till July 15, Sikkim has recorded 16,656 cases of COVID-19.

Through the second wave, Sikkim has maintained a positivity rate of 18.37 per cent with a monthly positivity rate of 16.14 per cent in April to 28.52 per cent in May, dropping down to 11.8 per cent in June and again increasing a bit to 19 per cent in the 15 days of July.

There were 89,105 COVID-19 tests conducted during the second wave of the pandemic, the data said. “People are not coming out for testing. They are doing it only when they are symptomatic, hence the high positivity rate. We are planning to conduct a mass testing drive again, but the bright side is the hospital admission rate is coming down in Sikkim. This means that there are less severe cases now,” Bhutia said.

As many as 3,211 COVID-19 cases have been reported in persons below 18 years. While 469 people tested positive in the first wave, 2,742 COVID-19 cases were detected in the second wave since March this year.

The positivity percentage for the first wave was 7.3 per cent while in the second wave it was 16.76 per cent in the said age group.

There were two COVID-19 deaths in the first wave and three in the second, with the case fatality ratio recorded at 1.47 per cent and 1.65 per cent in the two waves, respectively, among the younger lot.

The population of the state in the age group of 3-17 years age is 1,41,349, as per UDISE population data of 2019. The age group is yet to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

In the 18-44 age group, 10,309 people tested positive in the second wave, while 4,181 cases were reported in the first wave out of 6,428 total cases.

Up to 89 per cent of the age group have been given the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. “The timeline for the second dose is yet to come. We will start with second dose as soon it starts. The age group also makes up for most of the health care workers with 85 per cent vaccinated with the first dose and 75% with both the doses,” said Bhutia.

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Even for the frontline workers who are mostly in the said age group, 74 per cent of them have been vaccinated with the first dose and 60 per cent with both the doses.

In the age group of people above 45 years, 92 per cent of the population have completed first dose, while only 58 per cent have received both the doses.

Cumulatively, 88 per cent of the state’s population have been vaccinated with the first dose and only 22 per cent with both the doses.

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