District COVID deaths exceed Odisha’s official toll

Only 6 of 19 deaths from Nuapada COVID hospital audited

Despite COVID-19 infections rising sharply and a large number of consequential deaths in different districts, the consolidated information disseminated by the Odisha government has put the toll lower.

Since April 1, the State government has reported 32 deaths caused by COVID-19 infections from across 30 districts. However, information trickling in from districts on fatalities is at variance. In Nuapada alone, for instance, as many as 19 persons have died in the district COVID hospital since April 6.

“As many as 19 patients, who were admitted in our centre, have died. Only six deaths have been audited,” said Sudhir Ranjan Nayak, who heads the Nuapada COVID-19 hospital. As per government protocol, the deaths will be attributed to COVID-19 only after reason behind each death is properly examined.

According to the Nuapada Journalist Association that keeps record of COVID-19 deaths, as many as 31 persons succumbed to COVID-19 and 10 of them were referred to hospitals outside the district.

Cremation of six bodies was carried out with COVID-19 protocol by 2 p.m. on Tuesday while three more bodies were to reach Rajghat cremation ground at Sambalpur later in the day. On an average four to five bodies per day have been cremated under COVID protocols in the past one week.

Though frequency of cremations in Sundargarh and Rourkela districts had gone up, there is no information about the number of COVID-19 deaths.

Pratap Kumar Behera, Chief District Medical Officer of Kalahandi, said only seven deaths had taken place in the district and those had not been audited. Unofficial estimates however, put the COVID-19 fatalities at 17.

The COVID crisis is deepening in the State which reported 4,761 positive cases on Tuesday — a new high for the State. The positivity rate has increased from mere 4.35% on April 10 to 14.71% on April 20. As many as 1,953 persons have officially been registered as having succumbed to COVID-19 so far.

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