Bengal begins survey to identify people with co-morbidities to reduce Covid-19 mortality rate

With co-morbidity accounting for nearly 90% of Covid-19 related deaths in West Bengal, the Mamata Banerjee-led administration has started a survey to identify people with such ailments so that the death rate can be reduced in future.

“We have initiated a new survey to identify people with co-morbidities such as hypertension, diabetes and cardiac diseases. The Kolkata Municipal Corporation has already started the survey. Within the next one week it would be launched in other districts,” Rajiva Sinha, chief secretary of West Bengal said.

Till August 24 at least 2,851 people, who had tested positive for Covid-19, have died. Co-morbidity was present in 2,483 patients, which is around 87% of the total deaths. In only around 13% of the cases there were no co-morbidities.

“If we can identify the citizens with co-morbidities we would be able to identify the vulnerable people. This way we can hope to bring down the mortality rate which is present 2.01%,” said a senior official of the state health department.

The national-average of case fatality rate has dipped to 1.85% at present according to the union government. Earlier this month, at least 13 districts across the country including five districts in the state – North 24 Paraganas, Hooghly, Howrah, Kolkata and Malda – had come under the scanner of the Union government for their high mortality rate.

“Till June, the death rate compared to last year has dropped by 35%. But as Covid-19 patients have died the overall death rate has shot up,” Banerjee said.

A door-to-door survey by ASHA volunteers has also revealed that there are around 8,500 patients suffering from Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI) and another 3.5 lakh people infected with Influenza-Like-Illness (ILI).

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee has directed the district magistrates, superintendents of police and the chief medical officers of health in the districts to ensure that Covid-19 patients coming from neighbouring states such as Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha for treatment in West Bengal are not shown as local residents. Showing them as residents of West Bengal would give a false impression that the positivity rate and fatality rate is higher in the state.

The state labour minister has also been asked to conduct a survey, by making surprise visits to factories including jute industries and tea gardens, to check whether social distance is being maintained at the work place. In some cases it has been reported that factories and offices have become hubs of Covid-19 patients.

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