Chennai has outnumbered the state’s total COVID-19 positive cases for a while now. When the first case was reported at the Rajiv Gandhi Government Hospital last month, it was a resident of Kancheepuram.
Chennai being a tertiary health care centre, it is possible that several referrals or patients from other parts of the state seeking care have been reporting in the city’s hospitals. However, there is still a pressing need to turn the spotlight on the state capital which has had an average of over 54% of daily reported COVID-19 cases this month.
For the first time, on April 19, Chennai accounted for 50 of the 105 COVID-19 positive cases. The figure that was cruising with a share of 14% of the daily statewide new coronavirus cases, the figure surged to 46%.
And a couple of days later, the number spiked again to over 72.4% when 55 of the 76 new COVID-19 cases that day were reported by Chennai. However, as a percentage of the total number of active cases in Tamil Nadu, the city remained lower than 20, but in the following days, it rose to 2.7%.
Per public health experts, the density of the population is at the core of the issue. “With about 26,000 persons per sq. km., the population density in Chennai is unparalleled compared to any other part of the State,” The Hindu quoted P. Kuganantham, former Chennai Corporation Health Officer.
He pointed out that Chennai is not only a tertiary care centre but is home to a large number of government and private hospitals serving COVID-19 patients.
Here are some important points to note:
- Individuals who test positive in Chennai may not actually be from the city.
- We need not worry about a higher number of positive cases per se, as in epidemic control it is read as the presence of a good testing mechanism.
The tests being conducted in the city is one of the main reasons for the high number of positives.
“The government does feel the need to focus on Chennai and the Chief Minister appointed additional officers to monitor the COVID-19 situation here,” the Hindu quoted Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar.
Also, several additional facilities have been made available in order to offer real-time results of tested samples via mobile portals. Also, the samples sent for testing in the city are run in three different shifts every day to ensure that the results are delivered quicker.