'COVID-19 death rate in WB lower than national average'

COVID-19 fatality rate in West Bengal lower than national average: , Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha

Asserting that coronavirus patients in West Bengal were getting "better treatment" than several other places, Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha on Monday said the COVID-19 fatality rate in the state is 2.6 per cent, less than the national average of 3.1 per cent.

A total of 43 fresh cases have been reported in the state in the last 24 hours, he said.

Four persons were discharged following their recovery during that period, and at least 1,150 samples tested for COVID-19 since Sunday evening, Sinha said.

The rate of confirmation of coronavirus-positive cases in the state, at 5.4 per cent, is equal to the national average of 5.25 per cent, the chief secretary stated.

He also said that the recovery rate in West Bengal is close to the national average, and, in fact, better than many large states.

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"The number of patients discharged on (March 25) was zero, and today it's 109. Our rate of recovery is 18 per cent, which is close to national average and better than many large states.

"The fatality rate in Bengal is 2.6 per cent, less than the national average of 3.1 per cent. This shows people in the state are getting better treatment," Sinha said.

Most cases in the state have been reported from Kolkata, Howrah and North 24 Parganas.

"Active cases are concentrated in areas like Kolkata, Howrah, North 24 Parganas... and there are eight districts in West Bengal where no case of COVID-19 has been reported in the last two weeks," he added.

The number of laboratories for examining samples in West Bengal has gone up from one, on March 25, to 14 today, Sinha said, adding that the state government has filed an application for 10 more centres.

"We have already applied for sanctions to ten more laboratories. Once we get the nod, we will start testing samples at those facilities, too," the bureaucrat said.

Case-doubling rate has also slowed down, which shows that COVID-19 containment in West Bengal is getting better, Sinha said.

The number of COVID-19 hospitals in the state constitutes 7.5 per cent of the total such facilities available in the entire country. Currently, 7,969 isolation beds are available, he said.

The state government, through the 'Sandhane' app, has reached out to 3.4 crore households in the state. "To this day, we have surveyed 3.4 crore household in our state...that means we have reached out to almost 100 per cent (people) via our frontline health workers," he said.

Of those surveyed, 6,858 were found suffering from influenza-like illness and 560 from Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), he said, emphasising that necessary measures were taken to ensure proper medical treatment for all of them.

According to the state health department, at least 12,043 samples have been tested for COVID-19 till Monday.

Bengal has reported a total of 633 COVID-19 cases so far, the department said. Of them 504 are active patients and 20 people have succumbed to the disease.

According to Union health ministry, the number of COVID-19-stricken patients in the state stands at 649.

The state government has recently constituted an audit committee of doctors which ascertains whether a patient of COVID-19 has died because of the disease or a pre-existing ailment.

Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha has on Friday said that the audit panel has certified that only 18 of 57 fatalities were caused "directly due to the disease".

The rest 39 deaths were caused by other severe health conditions called co-morbidities in medical parlance.