Bhubaneswar: The COVID-19 tally in Odisha crossed the 24,000-mark on Saturday as 1,320 more people tested positive for the disease, while the death toll rose to 130 with a record 10 fatalities, a Health Department official said.
Three out of the 10 new fatalities were from Ganjam, the worst-hit district by the pandemic, two each from Balasore and Sundargarh, and one death each was reported from Gajapati, Jharsuguda and Rayagada, he said.
“Ten people, including a woman, died due to COVID-19 while undergoing treatment in hospitals. This is the highest single-day spike in the death toll. Six of them had co-morbidities. The deceased were aged between 30 and 61,” the health official said.
With 1,320 fresh cases, the total number of infections rose to 24,013, he said.
There has been a steep rise in the death toll during the current month, as the number of fatalities due to coronavirus was at 25 by the end of June, he said.
“In most of the cases where death occurred, the patients were also suffering from diabetes, hypertension and chronic diseases,” the official added.
Of the 130 deaths so far in the state, Ganjam reported 73, followed by Khurda (15), Cuttack (nine), Gajapati (eight), Sundargarh and Rayagada (four each), Angul, Balasore, Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara and Puri (two each).
One death each has been reported from Bargarh, Jajpur, Kandhamal, Nayagarh and Jharsuguda, the official said.
Thirty-three other coronavirus patients had died but their deaths were attributed to “non-COVID reasons”, he said.
This is the third consecutive day when more than 1,000 fresh cases have been reported in a day in Odisha, Health and Family Welfare Department’s Additional Chief Secretary P K Mohapatra said.
“The surge in the number of COVID-19 cases is temporary. It has increased due to active surveillance in hotspot districts,” he said.
The fresh cases were reported from 24 districts.
A total of 560 new cases were detected in Ganjam, a “coronavirus hotspot” district, followed by Khurda (174), Puri and Gajapati (90 each), Rayagada (60) and Sundargarh (47).
As many as 728 patients also recovered from the infection, taking the total number of cured persons in the state to 15,929 which is 66.33 per cent of the total caseload.
The number of the state’s active cases now stands at 7,921 which is 32.98 per cent of the total cases.
A total of 12,733 samples were tested for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, the official added.
The state government on Saturday issued a guideline for disposal of the bodies of COVID-19 patients as well as suspected cases, strictly prohibiting bathing and hugging corpses during the last rites.
“Bathing, kissing and hugging the bodies are strictly prohibited,” the guideline said, adding that the family members may be allowed to collect the ash after cremation for the performance of last rites.
Religious rituals, such as reading from religious scripts, sprinkling of holy water and any other last rites that do not require touching of the body can be allowed, the guideline said.
Meanwhile, the state government has pinned hope on the plasma therapy which is being administered to the critical patients, an official said, adding that most of them are recovering fast or stable.
After Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik engaged ministers to motivate people who had recovered from the disease to donate plasma for saving lives, Odisha Governor Ganeshi Lal has appealed to all to come forward for sharing their plasma.
“It (plasma donation) will be a great humanitarian as well as spiritual service in the time of pandemic,” the governor said.
Rejecting opposition allegation that tribal dominated districts were neglected by the state government, an official said another 70-bedded COVID Care Centre has become functional at Koraput.
With this, the total bed strength of CCCs (Corona care centres) at Koraput has risen to 340. Besides, there is another COVID Hospital with 150 beds, he said.
Koraput district has so far reported 444 positive cases, of which 162 patients have recovered while 282 are active cases, the official said.
COVID observer for Bhubaneswar Anu garg said as on July 25, the city has reported 1,828 positive cases, of which 952 people have recovered while 863 cases are active.