March 25 offered a ray of hope with the number of positive cases falling from disturbing highs to nine. But on Thursday (March 26), the number of samples that tested positive shot up to 19, the second highest since March 9 when the COVID-19 fear turned serious in Kerala. The highest number of positive cases in a single day was 28, on March 23.
The 19 new positive cases take the total number of confirmed cases in Kerala to 137. But since 11 of the confirmed cases had recovered, and this includes the radiologist at Sri Chitra Tirunal Institute, the Pathanamthitta native who arrived from Italy and generated the post Wuhan wave and also the Italian tourist who it was feared had come into contact with hundreds in Varkala, the total number of active cases in Kerala is 126. Among the positive cases under treatment are four foreigners.
Of the 19 new cases, Kannur tops the list with 9 cases. There were three each in Kasaragod and Malappuram, two in Thrissur and one each in Idukki and Wayanad. This is Wayanad's first positive case. Now, Kollam is the only district that does not have a confirmed case. All the nine infected persons in Kannur came from Dubai. However, there is no clarity on how the remaining 10 persons contracted the disease.
The Idukki native who had been infected is said to be a public worker, a cause for great alarm in the district. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, by way of assurance, said the infected public worker in Idukki did not bring the infection but was infected by a person who had come from outside the state. It is still not clear how extensively this man had travelled in the district without knowing he was infected.
Three of the cases reported positive on Thursday had come from outside. The remaining, including the man in Idukki, were primary contact of the foreign returnees.
Health officials say Palakkad district, which at the moment has only three confirmed cases, could see a spurt in positive cases in the coming days. The Palakkad native who had tested positive on March 25, it has now been revealed, had come into contact with at least 300 people. The man's son, a KSRTC conductor, also had contacs during his long-distance travels in KSRTC buses.
Kasaragod still has the highest number of confirmed cases, 48. However, the growth in cases has shown a considerable encouraging decline. "We cannot fully say the district has come out of danger but things ar absolutely under control," the Chief Minister said.
Kannur now has emerged the second most affected district with 22 cases. Ernakulam, which did not report any new case on Thursday, comes third with 17 confirmed cases.
Over a lakh under observation
Indicating that the state had stepped up surveillance in a big way, the number of people under observation Kerala demonstrated an exponential rise; it crossed one lakh (1,02,003). Last day, it was 76,542, a nearly 35 per cent jump in people under observation in a single day.
Of those under observation, 1,01,402 people are quarantined in their homes. The number in hospitals, which only four days ago was less than 150, swelled to 601, a sign of increasing burden on the state's health infrastructure. On Thursday alone, 136 persons were admitted to hospitals across the state.
Till now, 5342 samples were sent for testing and 3768 of them had shown no traces of the virus.