ISLAMABAD: All indicators show that the number of Covid-19 cases has been increasing since the opening of educational institutions in the capital as Sunday saw 77 new patients. However, no casualty was reported.
According to District Health Officer Dr Zaeem Zia, whenever a case was reported, efforts were made to break the chain of the virus.
He said three educational institutions had so far been closed since the opening of schools on Feb 1.
An official of the Ministry of National Health Services, requesting not to be named, said since the incubation period of the virus was around one week, a similar trend in cases and positivity ratio was seen till Feb 6, but then indicators started to change.
“It is not the first time that the number of cases has increased after schools were opened. It is for the third time that we have observed that as soon as educational institutions are closed, cases start to drop and rise again when they are opened,” the official said.
Positivity rate recorded at 2.21pc on Feb 13 compared to 1.4pc on Feb 8
“We have already closed educational institutions for many months due to which students have suffered and their owners have also faced financial loss. We cannot close schools, therefore we request the parents and administrations of educational institutions to ensure standard operating procedures were followed,” he said.According to documents available with Dawn, the positivity ratio on Feb 8 was 1.4pc after which it increased to 2.43pc on Feb 10. On Feb 13, the rate was recorded at 2.21pc and at 1.9pc on Feb 14.
A graph on weekly positivity rate, which is considered more reliable as cases per day fluctuate, shows that the ratio was 5.39pc in the second week of December. It then started to drop, falling to 1.61pc in the last week of January. It further dropped to 1.57pc in the first week of February, but increased to 2.07pc in the second week of February (Feb 8-14).
The document on daily cases showed that the city was reporting cases in double digits when educational institutions were closed. However, after Feb 6, they started to rise and reached triple digits. On Feb 12, the number of patients was 122, while 112 people contracted the virus on Feb 13.
When contacted, Dr Zia agreed that cases were increasing but said that there could be many other factors behind it.
“We have a policy to seal the educational institution whenever two or more cases are reported in a day, and so far three institutions have been closed. We disinfect the buildings and isolate the contacts of the infected patient to break the chain of the virus,” he said.
A patient succumbed to Covid-19 and 23 more tested positive in the district on Sunday as 38 patients were discharged from hospitals after recovering.
Anwar Jan, 87, from the city area, was brought to Fauji Foundation Hospital on Feb 10 but died late Saturday night.
Out of the 23 new patients, 19 were from Rawalpindi city and cantonment areas, two from Taxila, one from Gujar Khan and one patient from Islamabad.
The district has recorded 237 active patients with 86 admitted to hospitals and 151 home isolated.
Commissioner retired Capt Mohammad Mehmood told Dawn that eight patients were on ventilator, 24 were on oxygen and 29 were in stable condition.
He said 17,213 people had tested positive for Covid-19 since March 2020 out of whom 13,948 were in Rawalpindi, 1,253 in Attock, 1,386 in Jhelum and 620 in Chakwal.
He said 16,106 patients had so far been discharged from hospitals after recovering in the four districts and 747 people have died in Rawalpindi Division.
The district witnessed another surge in coronavirus cases as 11 more people got infected on Sunday, raising the figure to 1,259. It was the highest single day count in the current month.
District Health Authority Chief Executive Dr Jawad Elahi said out of the 11 cases, six were from Fatehjang, four from Attock city and one was from Hassanabdal.
He said there were 81 active patients in the district out of whom four were under treatment and 77 had been isolated at home.
Replying to a question, Dr Elahi said the number of suspected cases in the district was 25,305 while screening of 28,557 people had been carried out.
— Additional reporting by Amjad Iqbal
Published in Dawn, February 15th, 2021