West Bengal reported 2,954 new cases of coronavirus – highest ever – and 56 deaths on a day the state chief secretary said that the COVID-19 death rate in Bengal stands at 2.2 per cent and that 87 per cent patients who died had severe comorbid conditions.
Of the 56 deaths, 27 were from Kolkata alone.
Speaking at a press meet addressed by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha said besides comorbidities, 20 per cent patients had come to hospitals too late.
“There is no crisis in the state,” Mr Sinha said.
COVID beds in the state have been increased to 11,560, of which 39 per cent are vacant. There are over 4,000 patients in the hospitals – 1,144 are critical, 1,043 are in moderate condition while 1,946 are mild cases. Of the mild cases, 1,134 are in a condition to go home but “were scared do so”, Mr Sinha said.
The reassurance from the state chief secretary comes at a time when COVID numbers are on a continued upward spiral in the state. Thursday’s tally of new cases is the highest ever. COVID deaths that had gone up to 61 in 24 hours on Wednesday, dipped to 56 deaths in a day on Thursday.
But the rising figures should be seen in the context of higher tests, Mr Sinha said.
From about 10,000 sample testings per day in mid July, the number has crossed the 25,000 tests per day on Thursday with 25,224 sample tests. The total number of samples tested crossed the 10 lakh-mark on Wednesday.
“20 per cent of the tests we are doing is Rapid Antigent test but 80 per cent is still RT-PCR, which is the gold standard of testing according to ICMR,” Mr Sinha said.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee made special mention of the discharge rate which stood at 70.34 per cent on Thursday.
“I congratulate all our COVID warriors for this extremely good discharge rate,” Ms Banerjee said.
The government also reiterated helpline numbers that are already in the public domain. The chief secretary said the state will be recruiting 500 doctors as house staff at the earliest along with 53 doctors and 18 lab technicians for the Kolkata Municipal Corporation.
The recruitment will be done through walk-in interviews as the government is in a rush to augment the numbers at the earliest.