As much as 70 to 80 per cent of the positive cases detected in Gujarat were of the Omicron variant, Gujarat health minister Rushikesh Patel said Wednesday and and he urged those using home testing kits to register with a doctor to help strategise the state’s response to the third wave.
Gujarat continues to experience a surge, reporting a new high of 20,966 new cases and 12 fatalities, despite Patel’s remark that the state was only reaching its peak, according to the government’s assessment.
Patel assured that the Gujarat government was working to ensure that ” least number of patients require critical care and oxygen support,” during the current third wave surge and that the public must follow Covid-19 SoPs and behave appropriately.
Patel was addressing a press conference at the Sabarmati riverfront house in Ahmedabad, along with five medical experts who are members of the state government’s Covid-19 taskforce.
Ahmedabad reported 8,529 new cases and six deaths and is again seeing a significant reduction in the doubling time of new infections — from nearly 11 days as of January 17 to five days, as of Wednesday.
Responding to a to a question about why the state has stopped disclosing data on daily Omicron cases, Patel said, “It is being said that of the total Covid-19 cases at present,70-80 per cent are of the Omicron variant. Omicron variant is spreading rapidly and we are not differentiating between Omicron or Delta variant anymore, we are only concerned about ensuring safe recovery of those infected.”
Patel also hinted that the daily Covid cases declared by the state could be less than actual positive cases as citizens also use home testing kits. “The figures we get are based on data from private and government hospitals (and laboratories). Figures of people who conduct tests using home kits are not registered. It is our appeal that in such cases, the patient must register themselves with a doctor… so that we can (be privy to the actual data of positive cases and) strategise accordingly… on our Covid response… we are getting indications that it is approaching the peak,” said Patel.
According to Patel, the state is monitoring daily cases, future projections as well as oxygen requirements. “I believe there will not be a situation like we saw during the second wave… At present, the state has a capacity of 1,500 metric tonnes of oxygen and as of Monday, daily oxygen requirement was marked at 70 metric tonnes,” said Patel.
According to data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, eight districts, including Rajkot (13.65 per cent), Navsari (11.58 per cent) and Jamnagar (10.21per cent), have breached the weekly TPR of 10 per cent, while five other districts — Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Bharuch and Gandhinagar — breached it four days ago. At present, Ahmedabad is seeing the highest weekly TPR at nearly 25 per cent, followed by Vadodara at 23.80 per cent, Gandhinagar 19.16 per cent and Bharuch 15per cent.