COVID-19: Nagaland logs 16 cases, 30 recoveries in 7 days | MorungExpress | morungexpress.com

•    New weekly low in 9 months
•    Vax crosses 13-lakh milestone

Morung Express News
Dimapur | December 11

Nagaland logged the lowest 7-day tally of new COVID-19 cases in 9 months. The tally of new cases for the period December 4-10 was 16, a new low and a total which happened to be less than half of the previous week’s tally of 34. 

Only two districts— Dimapur (12 cases) and Kohima (4 cases), reported new cases, while the other districts maintained a clean sheet. The sample positivity rate for the week was 0.4 percent, the first time to drop below 1 since second wave. 

“No deaths were reported from the week for the first time since the second wave,” informed the State Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP). The weekly COVID roundup, released on December 10, added that only 3 new cases of new hospitalisations were recorded in COVID-19 hospitals during the past 7 days— 2 in Kohima and 1 in Dimapur. 

In terms of patient recovery, 24 patients recovered in Dimapur, 2 in Kohima, 3 in Mokokchung and 1 in Tuensang with the state reporting a total of 30 recoveries over the past 7 days. 

Vaccination
The state recorded the administration of 15,969 shots of COVID vaccine taking the total vaccine coverage to 13,12,041 doses.  According to the IDSP, reported a 4 percent increase in coverage. It added, “Vaccination coverage of the state will be critical to prevent more deaths and hospitalizations in the subsequent waves.”

With a total administration of 4,90,006 doses, the first dose coverage in Dimapur was at 127 percent, while the second dose coverage was nearing 100 percent. 

In the wake of the new emerging Omicron Variant ( B.1.1.159), the IDSP advised citizens to continue following preventive measures, which includes vaccination at the earliest, compulsory masking in public places and avoiding public gatherings. 

It cautioned, “The festive season brings in much cheer and joy, but it comes with an increased risk of infections and super spreader events due to more interactions between people unless all citizens of the state come together and do their part.”

VACCINES AND OMICRON VOC

Studies are still underway to determine the effectiveness of Vaccines against the Omicron Variant of Concern (VOC).
“There is no evidence to suggest that existing vaccines do not work on Omicron, some of the mutations reported on Spike gene may decrease the efficacy of existing vaccines. Vaccines are expected to still offer protection against severe disease and vaccination with the available vaccines is crucial.” [MOHFW]

“Our in vitro findings using authentic SARS-CoV-2 variants indicate that in contrast to the currently circulating Delta variant, the neutralization efficacy of vaccine-elicited sera against Omicron was severely reduced highlighting T-cell mediated immunity as essential barrier to prevent severe COVID-19.” [Wilhem et al. MedRix]

“As 80% of epitopes in the spike protein recognized by CD8+ T cells are not affected by the mutations in the Omicron variant, two doses may still induce protection against severe disease.’’ [Pfizer]
Courtesy: IDSP, Department of Health Family Welfare, Nagaland

Centre asks states to buckle up amid Covid surge in 27 districts

New Delhi, December 11 (IANS): As many as 27 districts have registered a surge in the Covid-19 positivity rate in the past two weeks and are being monitored closely, the Central government told the states, adding that the country is critically placed in its fight against the pandemic.

“With the recent trend of sustained and overall decline in Covid-19 cases in the country, we are critically placed in our fight against the pandemic. Eight districts in three states have been reporting more than 10 per cent positivity rates in the past two weeks. As many as 19 districts in seven states and union territories (UTs) have been reporting positivity rates between 5 per cent and 10 per cent in the past two weeks. Thus, these 27 districts need to be monitored closely,” Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote in his letter to the states.

The letter informed that a framework based on the test positivity rate or bed occupancy rate (test positivity rate more than or equal to 10 per cent or more than 60 per cent bed occupancy on either oxygen supported or ICU beds) was provided to the states. “It is imperative for all states and UTs to maintain a strict watch on the situation with focused district level measures for containment of clusters of new positive cases as per guidelines. In case of any district reporting a surge in Covid cases or rise in the positivity rates, intensive action and local containment as per the containment framework must be initiated,” the letter said.

The strategic containment interventions in identified areas with test positivity rate of more than or equal to 10 per cent or more than 60 per bed occupancy on either oxygen supported or ICU beds include night curfews, restricting the intermingling of people, prohibition of congregations, curtailment of attendees in marriages and funerals and last rites, etc.

Testing and surveillance interventions include ramping up testing and active case search, testing of all influenza-like illness and severe acute respiratory infection cases through rapid antigen tests and re-testing by RT-PCR of symptomatic rapid antigen negative tests. Strict adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour at all places and times must be rigorously enforced and aggressively monitored.

Adequate advance information to the community highlighting the need for stringent containment actions to achieve community involvement and support are also mandated in the framework issued by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the letter added.