Despite recent surge in cases in Bengaluru, positivity rate drops
Most of the city’s eight zones have reported a drop in both positivity rate and fatality rate of COVID-19 cases over the last four weeks, reveals data that Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) presented to Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa on Wednesday. This trend was observed despite a spike in cases since the start of October.
Bommanahalli, Mahadevapura, Dasarahalli and Yelahanka have recorded a very sharp drop in positivity rates, some nearly dropping by half in a span of four weeks. Only the East zone recorded a slight increase in positivity rate from 11.78% to 12.4% during the same period. However, the East Zone saw its fatality rate fall by more than half, dropping from a high of 1.9% to 0.84%.
While most zones had recorded fatality rates above 1% four weeks ago, all eight have fatality rates below 1% as on October 12. Dasarahalli Zone registered a marginal increase of fatality rate from 0.8% to 0.87%.
The drop would have been much sharper, if not for the rise in the number of cases over the last two weeks, sources say. Civic officials attributed the recent spike to an increase in testing, which has almost doubled in four weeks.
“The drop observed in both positivity and fatality rates even as we have ramped up testing shows that the city is slowly turning the tide,” said BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad.
He attributed the recent spike and Bengaluru reporting over 5,000 daily cases more than once to better monitoring. “We have ramped up testing, and it is good that we are catching more cases,” he said.
Four weeks ago, the city was testing 22900 people on an average per day. The number has now almost doubled and stands at around 45,600.
However, BBMP data shows that no zone achieved the target for the number of more reliable but tedious RT-PCR tests, but every zone has overshot its target for the less reliable but instant RAT tests. “We have now decided to increase the proportion of RT-PCR tests further and rely less on RAT tests,” Mr. Prasad said.
Civic officials also attribute the drop in positivity and fatality rates to contact tracing, which had taken a back seat in the city for a while.
“Earlier, primary contacts of positive patients would be reluctant to be tested, unless they had symptoms. But now, as patients can stay under home isolation, they are willing to get tested earlier. This is partly responsible for the high positivity rate,” C. Nagaraj, Director of Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases and a member of the State Task Force, told The Hindu a few days ago.