West Bengal on Sunday recorded a record 19,436 new cases of COVID-19 infections, while the number of samples tested for COVID-19 infections in the past 24 hours was 63,095. an increase in the number of cases and deaths since the second wave of COVID-19 hit West Bengal, which recently witnessed an acute election. In the past few days, the state has recorded more than 100 deaths from the viral infection, and on Sunday the death toll from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours was 124.
Even though a significant number of samples test positive, the state government’s official health bulletin gives the rate at 9.05%. Manas Gumta, secretary-general of the Association of Medical Doctors of Health Services, said that according to the figures of the daily samples tested, positive cases for COVID-19 are expected to be between 30 and 35%.
“Last year, at the height of the crisis, when the highest number of daily positive cases was just over 4,000, we were testing around 50,000 samples, and this year, as the number of cases increased several times, we are still testing 60.00 samples. The most urgent need is to increase testing, ”said Dr Gumta. There are reports of home collection of COVID-19 samples not being available in Kolkata, and test results taking three to four days to arrive.
In a communication to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on May 7 spoke of a high positive rate – up to 40% – in some districts of West Bengal.
A significant number of positive cases and deaths are recorded in Kolkata and North 24 Parganas. Kolkata recorded 3,961 new cases and 34 deaths on Sunday, while North 24 Parganas recorded 3,982 new infections and 39 deaths. The two districts combined account for 40% of the total recorded infections and more than 50% of deaths.
In terms of bed availability, the official state government version is that 42.74% of beds are occupied while the total number of COVID-19 beds in the state is 17,200. The number of active cases in the state as of May 9 is more than 1.25 lakh. Dr Gumta said it was necessary to look at where the beds are vacant, as most cases of infections are in Kolkata and adjacent districts, and there are no beds available here. Relatives of COVID-19 patients say public and private hospitals are turning away patients.
Meanwhile, a number of doctors and rationalist organizations wrote to the chief secretary of state, requesting a meeting, stating that they had suggestions to make.