Published on April 18, 2020

AHMEDABAD: With 176 new coronavirus cases in Gujarat since Friday evening, state tally has risen to 1,272. In the same period, seven patients under treatment succumbed to the viral infection. Death toll in the state now stands at now 48.

Ever since the first positive case was reported in Gujarat on March 19, it’s the highest 12-hour jump in cases and third consecutive day where the state recorded 100+ positive cases. On Friday, 170 cases were reported.
Jayanti Ravi, principal secretary (health and family welfare), said that out of 176 new cases, 143 are from Ahmedabad alone, followed by 13 each in Vadodara and Surat, two each in Rajkot and Bhavnagar and one each in Anand, Bharuch and Panchmahal.

“Majority of the cases have been reported from the known hotspots in the major cities,” said Ravi. “For example, the areas from which new cases have been reported in Ahmedabad include Gomtipur, Vejalpur, Ramdevnagar, Danilimda, Khanpur, Dariyapur, Khadia, Juna Vadaj, Jamalpur, Asarva, Kankaria, Behrampura and Bodakdev.”

The areas in Vadodara included Nagarwada, Fatepura, Karelibaug and New Sama Road and areas in Surat included Bhestan, Man Darwaja, Yogi Chowk and Lambe Hanuman Road that reported new cases.

“The state recorded seven deaths that included four from Ahmedabad and one each from Surat, Aravalli and Vadodara,” said Ravi. Many of them were struggling with comorbidities. “A 68-year-old woman from Ahmedabad had hypertension and TB, a 72-year-old woman from Ahmedabad had kidney disease, a 65-year-old woman had kidney disease and hypertension, a 50-year-old woman had mental health issues, a 70-year-old woman from Aravalli – admitted at UN Mehta Hospital in Ahmedabad – had cardiac issues and a 36-year-old woman from Surat had hypertension.”

A 60-year-old man from Vadodara, who succumbed to infection on Friday night, didn’t have any comorbidities.

In the past 24 hours, Gujarat carried out 2,802 tests, out of which 251 turned out to be positive. Cumulatively, Gujarat has conducted 24,614 tests so far. Ravi mentioned that the high number of cases is the direct result of intensive testing initiated in several hotspots and identified critical areas in cities across Gujarat.

The principal secretary said that they have got in-principle nod for blood plasma transfusion treatment for Covid-19 patients from the top officials in Delhi late on Friday night. While the state is expecting to get formal permission on Saturday, Ravi said that they expect to start the trials by Saturday itself.

“The testing and calibration of different rapid antibody testing (RAT) kits that we have received from the central government on Friday is being initiated. A large number of health department workers are also being trained to carry out the tests. Those found suspicious in these tests would be probed further,” said Ravi.

Commenting on the large number of medical professionals contracting Covid-19 due to treatment of patients who are not in hospital primarily for Covid-19 symptoms, Ravi said that they are devising the protocol for the same in consultation with the government and private hospitals.

“In about 80% of the cases, there are no or mild symptoms. In 15% of cases, the patients show signs such as difficulty in breathing, fever or cough and in remaining 5% cases, the patients require ventilator to survive. Our effort is to identify the potential cases quickly. It’s been seen worldwide that at first there is rapid rise in cases, then plateau and then decline,” said Ravi, adding that they have time and again asked the citizens to take care of the elderly and those with co-morbidities as they are the most vulnerable groups.

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