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Northeast India’s Sikkim now has third highest COVID fatality rate in India

GANGTOK: Sikkim, one of the last states in India to report cases of the novel coronavirus, presently has the third-highest case fatality rate in the country. The Northeast Indian state reported its first COVID case in late May. Case fatality rate or CFR is the ratio of Covid deaths to the total number of cases recorded.

To date, the Northeast Indian State has reported 4,577 cases of the virus — a tame number compared to the rest of the country. However, what is truly concerning is the state’s Case Fatality Rate, which has surged to 2.07 percent on Thursday. India’s average CFR stands at 1.47 per cent.

In Sikkim, as many as 95 people have been killed due to the virus — 85 were above the age of 55 and suffered from comorbidities. That is about 92.3 per cent of the cases. According to the state’s health experts, the number of symptomatic cases in Sikkim is also on the rise.

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Dr C.S. Sharma, Medical Superintendent of the Northeast Indian state’s only Covid-dedicated hospital, Sir Thutob Namgyal Memorial (STNM) Hospital, told media that most of the patients who died had underlying conditions such as kidney and liver ailments hypertension, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The STNM Hospital, Sikkim’s only dedicated hospital for the virus, has 287 beds for Covid patients, along with 20 ICU beds and 57 ventilators. Notably, the hospital also has the state’s only RT-PCR testing centre.

Senior doctors of the Northeast Indian state have also blamed the lackadaisical attitude of the people for the increased fatality rate in the state.

Earlier, the state authorities were testing all primary contacts, but now according to government SOP, they are testing only the symptomatic primary contacts. Asymptomatic patients and contacts are in home isolation. At the same time, there have been murmurs of community transmission in the state.

Despite this, random testings are yet to carried out in the state, and health officials have blamed “late hospitalization” for the death of COVID patients.

Unlike the rest of the country, at-home sample collection is not available in Sikkim. The state is also not carrying out random testing.

Health officials in Sikkim also blame late identification of the virus for the increased death rate among aged patients. Alarmingly, out of the 85 who died, 12 patients tested positive for Covid after death.

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