UV exclusive: In conversation with DC Sindhu B Roopesh on DK’s rising Covid cases, mortality rate

Neeta Shetty, Jul 4, 2020, 6:29 PM IST

Mangaluru: A sudden surge in coronavirus cases in Dakshina Kannada district has led to a sense of panic among people with the infection now spreading to doctors, police personnel the most recent one being a legislator.

Notably, the spike in cases was observed following relaxations of the lockdown when overseas and interstate travelers began returning to the district. In early June, it was these travelers that accounted for majority of the cases but now the infection seems to be spreading among the locals too.

In this regard, Udayavani struck a conversation with Deputy Commissioner Sindhu B Rupesh to understand the ground facts of the situation and measures taken by the administration to deal with the situation.

Q. In the last few days Dakshina Kannada has reported second highest covid positive cases after Bengaluru. Is this due to community transmission phase or is this result of quarantine violation.

A. The spike in positive cases since June can be attributed to the increased testing undertaken by the district administration to detect cases. The district is also seeing lot of international arrivals.

Only experts can comment if coronavirus is in the community transmission stage. A majority of the cases are asymptomatic and they can recuperate by home isolation. As per the stats, an equal proportion of international/interstate returnees; people with Influenza like Illness(ILI) and primary contacts have been infected.

Q. DK mortality rate is slightly higher than that of state. Is there a delay in identifying and starting treatment. What steps are being taken to address this

A. Firstly, the initial deaths reported in Dakshina Kannada can be termed as incidental covid deaths as these patients had comorbid conditions. Secondly, the death toll of 19 as on July 3 also includes two deaths due to non-Covid issues.

However in few of the recent cases delay in securing timely treatment has cost lives.

It is very crucial to bridge the gap from when symptoms appear and when the patient begins his treatment. Getting treatment within the golden hour will aid recovery of patients.

An audit report of the death cases has revealed that most of cases were in a bad shape on arrival.

People with prior health issues especially those with respiratory infections must report if they show any symptoms at the earliest. With focus on early detection of cases, the administration has begun sending health teams to clusters and is also conducting pulse oximetry (procedure for measuring the concentration of oxygen in the blood) test on individuals.

The administration is also identifying suspected covid cases through reports secured by private clinics, chemist shops and diagnostic (X-ray) centres.

Q. Can we follow any specific model to reduce fatalities

A. We are constantly checking areas where we can improve and what others are doing better than us. While everyone speaks of following a specific model, they need to understand that everyone is attending to the cases as per the SOPs itself. We can’t draw comparisons based on the fatalities in a particular area.

It must also be remembered that the city is home to several super speciality hospitals. Thus patients from other districts too are undergoing treatment here. But again they need to report the symptoms early.

A positive thing at the moment is that people are coming forth to get themselves tested.

Q. Events are being held where people are often seen wearing masks improperly, flouting distancing norms.

A. People must act responsibly and take all precautions. The face masks must be worn properly, social distancing norms and adequate hygiene must be followed at all times. This is for the benefit of the public themselves.

Also as the elderly are most vulnerable, we should maintain a safe distance from them at home. This is because we tend to go outside for work and hence should avoid exposing them to any kind of infection.

Lastly, there is no reason for people to panic. A majority of the cases are asymptomatic and they can recuperate by home isolation. The media also has a role to play in creating awareness among people, the DC said.

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