20 districts in the State have not reported a single fatality in the last 10 days
Fresh COVID-19 cases are on the decline in Tamil Nadu, and so are deaths due to the infection. The last seven-day average deaths is down to five a day, while the case fatality rate (CFR) for the last week has reduced to under 1%.
As of February 4, the State registered 12,375 deaths. A majority of them — 10,275 persons, accounting for 82% — had co-morbidities. About 63% of the deceased were aged over 60.
With a dip in fresh infections in the State, deaths due to COVID-19 too have declined.
According to the Health Department, as many as 20 districts have not reported a single COVID-19 death in the last 10 days.
There were no COVID-19 deaths in Chennai on two days in the last two weeks.
“Basically, the clinical protocols arrived at by specialists and doctors in Tamil Nadu, including for those with co-morbidities, encouraging early admission, follow up of patients with X-rays and CT scans, and critical monitoring of COVID-19 blood profiles have helped. Rapid ramping of oxygen beds and oxygen supplies, and analysing deaths were some of the initiatives. An assured supply of medicines by the TNMSC was a very important foundation,” Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan said.
Newer challenges emerging are many not taking the initial symptoms seriously due to the success in reducing fatalities, he said, adding: “Constant IEC (Information Education and Communication) activities are being done on the need to continue to wear masks. People need to access medical facilities in case of symptoms and not delay.
One of the ways forward is fatality mitigation by effective clinical management. This includes risk stratification based on age and the presence of co-morbidities, monitoring and follow-up of all cases, including among those under home isolation, bed and critical-care capacity strengthening, protocol-based standardised clinical management and facility-level death audits.
Experience in handling a large numbers of patients has helped doctors chalk out the right line of management. The Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital that once recorded deaths in double digits is now registering one death a day or even no deaths due to COVID-19 on some days, according to its dean E. Theranirajan.
“We have a standard protocol in place, and our doctors are well-aware of the clinical presentation of COVID-19. The clinical parameters are assessed and closely monitored, and the line of management is decided based on this. Our experience in dealing with a large numbers of patients, the conduct of daily death audits and taking of appropriate interventions have helped reduce deaths,” he said.
R. Jayanthi, dean of the Government Medical College Hospital, Omandurar Estate, said the decline in deaths was proportionate to the decline in cases.