Kolkata: At least 105 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 have died in West Bengal -- 33 directly due to the disease and the rest because of co-morbidities, Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha said on Thursday.
Eleven people have died due to coronavirus infection recently in Bengal, he said, adding that an experts committee constituted by the state government for conducting an audit into COVID-19 deaths submitted its report to the health department earlier in the day.
Sinha also said that 37 fresh cases of COVID-19 were registered in West Bengal in the last 24 hours -- 80 per cent of which are from the metropolis and its adjoining Howrah, and North 24 Parganas districts.
Apart from these three districts, new cases were also reported from Hooghly.
"The expert committee has examined altogether 105 cases. Of that, 33 were found to have died due to COVID-19 infection. And the rest 72 deaths were attributed to co- morbidities, where COVID-19 was incidental. The committee submitted its report today and these figures are not of single day," Sinha said told reporters at the state secretariat.
The chief secretary also said that there are at least 444 total containment zones in Bengal where the government has imposed complete lockdown.
Districts of Howrah, North 24 Parganas and Purba Medinipore, apart from Kolkata, still feature in the 'red zone', he said.
"In Kolkata, there are 264 containment zones, while in Howrah and North 24 Parganas there are 72 and 70 such zones respectively. Eight districts in the state are absolutely free of COVID-19.
"Three districts have not reported any case over the past 12 days. There are two districts from where no report of any fresh infection has arrived in seven days. It's clear that the state government's measures are taking effect but it is too early to come to a conclusion," he said.
Talking about the audit committee, the bureaucrat said that the state health department would soon come out with an advisory, based on the observations of the panel.
"Please note that this committee was not auditing the death certificates. It was only auditing death cases. The move was essential to understand the treatment protocol of COVID-19 and learn the character of the disease," he said.
The audit committee, Sinha said, has found that several death certificates issued for patients of COVID-19 did not follow the prescribed format set by WHO and the ICMR.
"The death certificates should ideally include the immediate cause of death, antecedent cause of death and underlying cause of death. The time interval of the presumed onset of condition and the death should also be mentioned in the case history.
"The committee, following its research, said medical record-keeping requires a lot of improvement and the health department will soon come out with an advisory," Sinha said.
Currently, West Bengal has 572 active cases. At least 15 people have been discharged from the hospital in the last 24 hours, taking the number of recoveries to 139.
Since Wednesday, 1,905 samples have been tested for the disease. The total number of samples examined so far stands at 16,525, the bureaucrat said.
The state has 67 COVID-19 hospitals, including a new facility that has come up in Kolkata, he said.
"There are, at the moment, 14 testing centres. Of that, one at CNCI Rajarhat, has developed technical snag and had not been functional for the last three days," he said.
West Bengal has reported a total of 744 COVID-19 cases. The figure, however, does take into account 72 cases of co-morbidities. The Union health ministry has pegged the total in the state at 758.