Rangpur divisional Covid positivity rate doubles in 2 weeks

Rangpur, the northernmost division of Bangladesh, has seen its average daily test positivity rate double over the past two weeks, raising the number of highly Covid-hit divisions to three, almost half of the country.

The average positivity rate in Rangpur division was 24 per cent on Monday, which was around 12 per cent 15 days ago, and is more than double the country’s average positivity rate of 11.47 per cent.

The northern districts of the division such as Thakurgaon, Lalmonirhat, Dinajpur, Rangpur and Nilphamari have experienced the rather silent surge of Covid cases while Rajshahi and Khulna divisions have been battling a visible alarming spread of Covid-19 for the last three weeks.

On Monday at least five districts in the three divisions logged over 50 per cent positivity rate with the highest rate of 60 per cent recorded in Thakurgaon, according to government statistics.

‘We are worried about the test positivity rate gradually increasing as it has almost doubled over the last two weeks,’ said Rangpur divisional health director Ahad Ali.

‘We need to step up Covid diagnosis and also to confirm as soon as possible if the Indian variant of coronavirus is behind all these cases,’ he said.

Since April 26, when Bangladesh closed its border with India, the latest global Covid hotspot, the Rangpur divisional health office has sent 17 specimens of India returnees infected with coronavirus for genome-sequencing at the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research in the capital to ascertain if they contained the delta variant but the result is yet to be known.

The IEDCR has, however, recently revealed in its latest report that 80 per cent of the samples genome-sequenced since May 16 were infected with the Indian variant.

The districts where the presence of the Indian variant has been confirmed by the IEDCR are Chapainawabganj, Khulna, Gopalganj and Dhaka.

‘We are marking Covid patients’ houses with red flags and controlling their movement,’ Thakurgaon deputy commissioner KM kamruzzaman Selim told New Age.

Rangpur division health officials have emphasised contact-tracing and isolating the infected people to prevent the situation from deteriorating further.

There are only 26 ICU beds in the entire Rangpur division with 522 beds dedicated to treating Covid patients.

Central oxygen supply is only available at district level hospitals in Dinajpur, Rangpur, Kurigram, Thakurgaon and Syedpur, said Ahad Ali.

On Monday the Rangpur divisional health office reported a 36 per cent test positivity rate in Lalmonirhat district, followed by Dinajpur with 21 per cent and Rangpur and Nilphamari with 19 per cent each.

Rajshahi divisional health director Habibul Ahsan Talukder said that places they had already put under stricter restrictions already showed signs of Covid spread slowing down.

‘Our major hospitals are almost exhausted tackling a steady flow of Covid patients,’ said Habib.

The only 20 beds with intensive care facilities in the division have been occupied and central oxygen support cannot be found in almost any upazila level hospital.

Even some of the districts do not have central oxygen supply leaving serious patients to gasp for air or manage own oxygen cylinder while lying on the floor at hospitals.

The Directorate General of Health Services in its daily Covid update on Monday said that the positivity rates in Rajshahi, Natore and Joypurhat were 30 per cent, 36 per cent and 27 per cent respectively.

Rajshahi division logged 607 new infections between the Sunday and Monday mornings, the highest ever since the vrial disease emerged there in April.

In Khulna division, Bagerhat, Narail and Satkhira districts recorded 55 per cent, 52 per cent and 53 per cent positivity rates respectively.

Many districts logged above 20 per cent positivity rate while Perojpur recorded 54 per cent in the 24 hours till 8:00am Monday.

The capital Dhaka had, however, the lowest positivity rate of 3.45 per cent during the 24-hour reporting period, showed DGHS data.

In the period, the national average positivity rate stood at 11.47 per cent after the testing of 17,169 samples, the highest positivity rate after April 27.

A spike in Covid cases was feared immediately after the authorities officially announced the presence of the delta variant in Bangladesh on March 8, just days before the country celebrated its biggest festival of Eid-ul-Fitr largely ignoring health guidelines.

The DGHS said that 30 people died of Covid-19 in the 24 hours taking the overall death toll from the disease to 12,869.

The viral disease has infected 8,12,960 people since its emergence in the country in March last year while a total of 7,53,240 Covid patients have so far recovered, said the DGHS.

Nineteen of the fresh dead were men while the rest were women.

Seventeen of the deaths occurred in government hospitals, 10 in private hospitals and three at home, according to the health update.

Division-wise, the highest 11 deaths were reported from Chattogram, followed by Dhaka with seven deaths, Sylhet with four deaths, Khulna with three deaths, Rajshahi and Mymensingh with two deaths each, and Rangpur with one death.

By age, 22 of the deceased were above 60 years while two were between 51 years and 60 years, three between 41 years and 50 years and three between 31 years and 40 years, said the DGHS update.

The entire Bangladesh is under some restrictions but the bordering divisions of Rajshahi and Khulna have recently heightened their restrictions to prevent the situation from further deteriorating.

News courtesy- Rangpur divisional Covid positivity rate doubles in 2 weeks