BENGALURU: The coronavirus spread in Bengaluru was mostly triggered by primary contacts, especially in the past month. This is contrary to the perception that transmission is largely due to those with travel history, Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI) and Influenzalike Illness (ILI).
“The increase in infection transmitted through primary contacts started rising after April 17 and has spiked now. Transmission through people with travel history was high a month ago,” BBMP officials said.
On Saturday, there were 221 positive patients in Bengaluru. Of these, transmission in 141 was by primary contacts, 35 with travel history and 19 SARI among others. BBMP health officials said more primary contacts of Covid-19 patients are turning positive.
Various stakeholders battling the pandemic attributed it to failure to maintain social distancing norms, poor socioeconomic background and living conditions, people with comorbidities, asymptomatic patients spending more time with healthy individuals and chinks in surveillance which includes contact tracing. Dr Vijayendra B, chief health officer, BBMP, said: “Regardless of warnings, people continue to violate social distancing norms. It’s advisable to maintain physical distance from everyone, irregardless of the bonds.”
Another BBMP health inspector said the outbreak was severe in localities whose residents are from a poor socio-economic background. Padarayanapura, Hongasandra and Shivajinagar have houses standing cheek by jowl. “There are houses n a 30ft x 20ft plot with around 50 people,” he said.
In Hongasandra, a patient had 185 primary contacts and 60 secondary contacts and 21 tested positive. In Shivajinagar, a hotel employee’s 25 contacts tested positive. In Padarayanapura, the civic body has largely failed to trace primary and secondary contacts of several patients.
“In these areas, households share toilets and kitchens with contiguous dining and living rooms. Given the lockdown, people can only remain indoors. When one asymptomatic patient lands there, it’s a recipe for disaster,” officials explained.
A doctor involved in treating Covid-19 patients said the virus can spread from one individual to another if they spend less than 15 minutes together. He said people with comorbidities like respiratory disorders, diabetes and blood pressure are sitting ducks when an infected persons spends even a little time with them.
Health & family welfare department officials said more contacts of Covid-19 patients testing positive means that the BBMP’s surveillance and contact tracing have been effective.