Chennai/Salem: Tamil Nadu health authorities on Sunday intensified house checks across 11 districts as the number of Covid-19 positive cases in the state touched 50, up by eight cases in 24 hours. The new cases included a baby boy.
Health secretary Beela Rajesh sought to soften the blow, saying all the eight cases that tested positive on Sunday were from Erode district and were already in isolation at the designated Perundurai Government Hospital there, or under observation.
Erode collector C Kathiravan said the eight positive patients in the district include one of the seven Islamic preachers from Thailand who visited Erode district recently and three of their local contact persons. All of them are under observation in the isolation ward. Two other Islamic clerics have tested positive for the virus.
On Sunday alone, Kathiravan said four people from Erode, who were among the contacts of the Thai preachers, tested positive for the virus. Including a ten-month-old baby, they are all from one family. They were recently shifted to a Coimbatore hopsital.
In neighbouring Salem district, six patients including four Islamic clerics from Indonesia have tested positive, while 13 others are under monitoring in the Mohan Kumaramangalam General Hospital.
Dr Beela Rajesh clarified that blood samples taken from three people who died on a single day in Kanyakumari General Hospital on Saturday have all returned negative, thereby showing that they were not corona-related deaths.
Though the total number of positive cases has jumped to 50 in Tamil Nadu, the number includes five who were discharged after treatment, she said.
Tamil Nadu has conducted intense surveillance of 43,538 new foreign returnees detected through passport tracking, the health secretary said; and 1,763 blood samples have been taken from them and sent for testing.
Health workers have been conducting checks in individual houses in 11 vulnerable districts including Virdhunagar. In Tiruppur district alone, 27,720 persons were checked and of them 50 have been found to have symptoms of coronavirus.
In Salem district, 80,000 persons were checked of whom 20 showed symptoms of the virus, while in Chennai city one lakh persons were checked. Follow-up actions including house quarantine and admission to isolation wards where necessary were being taken in all these cases, Dr Rajesh said.
The person who tested positive in Chennai on Saturday had a travel history to the US while another engineer in Virudhunagar who tested positive had also contact history, she said.
The total bed capacity for coronavirus-related patients across Tamil Nadu including government hospitals and select private hospitals has now been augmented to 17,000, the health secretary said....