Keep a close eye on symptomatic cases, hospitalisation rate: Task force
However, the state’s Covid task force said that test positivity may not be a crucial parameter during the ongoing Omicron-driven wave
Mumbai The test positivity rate shot up drastically in Mumbai from 11% in the last week of December to over 30% on Thursday. However, the state’s Covid task force said that test positivity may not be a crucial parameter during the ongoing Omicron-driven wave.
The more consequential parameters to consider are symptomatic positivity, rate of hospitalisations, oxygen and ventilator requirement, according to the task force.
“We already know that Omicron is a highly transmissible variant and it is likely to infect a large number of people. Therefore, we should not panic,” said Dr Shashank Joshi, member of the Covid task force.
He further added that the trends should be defined by symptomatic positivity which means how many people with symptoms are testing positive, the rate of hospitalisations, and the rate of oxygen and ventilator use. “The rise in these parameters should worry us and drive our interventions,” he said.
Of the 48,518 new Covid infections detected in Mumbai between January 1-5, only 5,497 or 11% were symptomatic, according to the data collated by the civic body.
“The impact of this variant will be clear in the next two weeks,” said Dr Joshi adding that people should not panic and rush to hospitals unless they have acute symptoms, co-morbid conditions and desaturating oxygen levels.
According to virologist Dr T Jacob John, as the number of infections rises, the test positivity rate is bound to go up. “There is no surprise in that. The test positivity rate is a crude measure of the increasing cases and can be influenced by the doctor’s judgement of whom to test or the overall testing strategies. Our observations should now be focussed on the breakthrough and re-infections, how many of them or other susceptible populations are requiring hospitalisations and the number of patients developing a serious disease,” he said.
Mumbai’s hospitalisations have risen steadily in the past few days. As of Thursday, over 5,998 patients were admitted to hospitals and jumbo facilities, including over 1,983 patients on oxygen support and nearly 421 on ventilator support. A fortnight ago on December 20, the number of patients in hospitals stood at 865, those on oxygen support were 379 and those on ventilators were 154.
Dr Prince Surana, chief executive of Mumbai’s Surana Group of Hospitals, said that a small number of patients are turning up with symptoms like acute cough and fever and those with co-morbidities are being admitted.