When the daily count of COVID-19 cases fell to 200 a week ago, complacency began to creep into people’s minds in Chittoor district, with many thinking that the worst of the second wave of the pandemic was behind them.
However, their relief proved to be short-lived, as the number of daily positive cases again shot up to touch 501 in the district on Sunday, once again forcing health officials back on their feet and leading to despair among people.
Senior medical officers expressed concern at the sudden spike in cases on Sunday.
COVID cases in urban areas — the two municipal corporations of Tirupati and Chittoor and the six municipalities of Srikalahasti, Puttur, Nagari, Palamaner, Punganur and Madanapalle — had fallen below 60 last week. However, the figures have doubled now, and the situation in the rural areas too is not very different.
According to officials, during the last 24 hours, the number of active cases had gone up by a hundred, taking the total cases (since March last year) to 2,27,087, and casualties to 1,682. In terms of death toll, Chittoor district continues to occupy first place. The number of patients joining COVID hospitals in Tirupati and COVID Care Centres elsewhere in Chittoor district showed an increase in the last couple of days.
Srikalahasti mandal witnessed some respite with daily cases falling below five last week, but Sunday’s graph lifted the figure to 20. Similarly, several mandals in the district, abutting the urban areas, saw the cases remaining below five till last week, but Sunday saw the cases ranging between 10 and 24. The municipalities of Nagari and Punganur which experienced zero cases last week are again witnessing an uptick in cases.
The upward movement of the COVID graph is largely attributed to unchecked movement of the public within the district and across the borders with Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Though APSRTC buses are not plying on inter-State routes, private buses are crisscrossing the area with full occupancy, mostly found ignoring COVID safety protocols. The full-fledged functioning of bakeries and eateries, and crowding at meat and fish markets, is also said to be a factor behind the resurgence in cases.
Municipal Commissioner (Chittoor) P. Viswanath said that amidst fears of a third wave, a three-day awareness campaign would be launched in Chittoor municipal corporation limits from Monday. He said that the initial session would commence at Nagaiah Kalakshetram for field staff on COVID duties, including ward secretaries, sanitation workers, DWCRA and ICDS functionaries.