Bengaluru's Covid-19 cases to rise more in coming days

Bengaluru's number of new Covid-19 cases to keep rising in the upcoming days

 A policeman guards at Sadar Patrappa road locality as Karnataka government announced the area under lockdown after detection of several clusters of coronavirus infections, in Bengaluru, Thursday, June 25, 2020. (PTI)

The scale of the community transmission of Covid-19 in the city was revealed on Saturday when health officials disclosed the existence of 596 new Covid-19 cases.?

The new numbers represent the highest, single-day increase?registered in Bengaluru, but multiple sources told DH that the numbers are not clear-cut as they may seem.?

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Dr Giridhar Babu, a member of the state's expert committee, described the new numbers as being part of the city's ongoing Covid-19 surge, which began a week ago. Since that time, the city has had 1,455 cases.?

While the surge is one factor for the rise, sources said that two additional elements are also responsible, including an increased yield benefiting from random testing in the city, and more disturbingly, the inclusion of backlog cases which are several days old.

About 400 of the new cases are said to be backlog cases from as many as three days ago. Two authoritative sources said that the city will post similar high figures for the next two days.?

The second source added that some of the cases were collateral casualties of the closures of the two of the city's two primary Covid-19 testing labs, at Nimhans and the Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI).?

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Both of these labs, which shut down on June 22 after staffers contracted the disease, were testing roughly 1,000 samples per day. Their closure is said to have created a substantial backlog of swabs for testing, with over 3,000 samples recorded as being from Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital alone.?

"Most of these samples were sent to other labs, and the delay in testing is why we are seeing such a large spike,"?said the source, who did not want to be named.?

Random testing

A?random testing programme begun by the Bengaluru Bruhat Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) earlier this week is also credited with having uncovered many new cases.?

A third government source told DH that a large number of cases had been discovered among roadside vendors, vegetable and fruit sellers in market spaces and police personnel.

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"In fact, we have found new cases in all areas where earlier new cases were reported," the source said.?"The bulk of the new cases are concentrated in the southern and the eastern zones of the city."?

According to Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao, a total of 6,378 tests have been done as far as police personnel are concerned, out of which 121 police personnel have tested positive as of Friday. "Out of Saturday's total, we expect five of the new cases to be police personnel,"?he told DH.?

This represents a case positivity rate of 1.89 for the police, which is far lower than the city's overall positivity rate of 2.74%.?Dr Babu cautioned that these kinds of high numbers were expected in the days to?come. "Whether the system is ready and we can gear up our capacity to deal with the kind of picture that is going to come in the picture is what will decide the outcome of the next few days," he said.?