Sikkim records first Covid death in 19 days; Test positivity hits 27% with 112 new cases

Sagar Chhetri

Gangtok, 10 Jan:

The spike in the number of daily cases which had begun in the second half of last week crossed the three-digit mark in Sikkim today with 112 new cases reported in the past 24 hours. The Daily Report of Covid-19 in Sikkim issued by the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme of Health Department further informs that the State also lost a life to Covid in the 24 hours ending 8AM Monday morning. This was the first Covid death in Sikkim since 23 December last year.

The IDSP report also informs that 14 of the new cases have since left the State. Although the chart does not specify the reasons, it is apparent that these 14 cases were among tourists who had left the State by the time the results came out. These 14 could also include army personnel who have a separate Covid protocol.

These 14 cases have left the State. Over the past few days, there have also been several tourists who have opted to quarantine in the hotels they had checked into.

Tourists and army personnel have been figuring noticeably in Sikkim daily numbers, and while the latter has its own protocols, it is the incidence among tourists which has been frustrating contact tracing teams.

Often times, tourists who test positive refuse to share the name of the hotels they stayed in, places they visited or vehicles they travelled in, health officials have complained. This makes contact-tracing difficult and compromises efforts to contain the spread of the virus.

Meanwhile, about today's numbers, Sikkim’s daily test positivity rate came in at 27.2% on Monday with the 112 cases picked up from the screening of 411 samples in the past 24 hours. While 67 of the cases were registered in East District [where 226 samples were tested], 42 were in West District from the 162 samples screened there, two in South District from 22 tests and the only sample tested in North District returned positive.

The State's 410 Covid death was reported from STNM Hospital.

At present, there are 314 active Covid cases in the State and in the last 24 hours only one recovery was reported. While 32,465 samples have tested positive in Sikkim since testing began on 28 Feb, 2020, a total of 31,741 people have since recovered to give Sikkim a current recovery rate of 97.8%.

While it is never advisable to take Covid lightly, the numbers suggest that the severity of symptoms continues to be much milder than has been Sikkim's experience during the peak of the second wave. Of the 314 active cases, only 25 are in hospital at present, 11 of whom were admitted in the past 24 hours, and the rest are recovering under home isolation.

With slightly fewer than 8% of the currently active cases requiring hospitalisation, the State is currently much better off than the second wave situation when the national average stood at nearly 24% of the active cases requiring hospitalisation.

Two of the 25 in hospital at present are under 18 years of age, but both are the regular Covid ward and not in HDU or ICU. Also, of the 25, four patients are currently in ICU, all at Central Referral Hospital, Tadong.