Covid-19: Positivity rate in Bengaluru crosses 5% | Bengaluru News – Times of India
Covid-19 testing has picked up in public spaces
BENGALURU: The average rate at which Bengalureans are testing positive for coronavirus has increased drastically in the past week. The positivity rate has crossed the mark of 5 per cent. Effectively, five people are turning positive for every 100 Covid-19 tests.
After a sharp decline in the past few months, cases are climbing again. In January and February, the positivity rate was less than 1 per cent. Last month, it was 2.3 per cent and on Saturday, 5.3 per cent. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the rate should be below 5 per cent for effective containment of Covid-19.
The positivity rate is a key measure to determine how widespread coronavirus infections are and whether adequate tests are being conducted. A higher rate worries health officials as it points to a large spread triggered by transmission in the community.
Bengaluru’s positivity rate peaked in July last year, hovering around 24 per cent before sliding to about 8 per cent in October and 0.9 per cent in January this year. It started increasing in March as the second wave of Covid-19 hit the tech capital, and experts believe it will go up further. The number of cases detected in the city every day has shot up from 300-plus in the first week of March to 3,500 now.
Health minister K Sudhakar attributes the rising rate to multiple factors. “We share borders with Maharashtra and Kerala, two states which have reported the highest number of positive cases in the second wave. There is heavy movement of people and this has triggered the spread of Covid-19. Moreover, citizens have dropped their guard and are not wearing masks or maintaining social distancing,” he said.
A senior official of the state health and family welfare department said that the positivity rate went up after the testing capacity was ramped up. “We were conducting around 30,000 tests per day three months ago. We have doubled it now, so more cases are getting detected,” the official added.
A review of data from the period of March 27 to April 2 shows that positivity was high in Rajarajeshwarinagar (6 per cent) and Bengaluru South zone (5.1 per cent). The rate can be lowered by reducing transmission or by increasing testing. “But many people are reluctant to get tested despite showing symptoms. Citizens must act responsibly, get tested and isolate themselves if they have symptoms,” the officials said. In some relief for health officials, the fatality rate is low, which indicates low virulence of coronavirus variants circulating in the city.