Chandigarh: Gurgaon in Haryana, one of the worst-hit districts in the country by the coronavirus pandemic, has recorded a six-fold increase in deaths, while the cases have gone up more than three-and-a-half times between May 31 and June 11, data showed on Friday.
Of the nearly 6,000 total cases in Haryana, Gurgaon alone accounts for more than 45 per cent and 19 out of the total 64 COVID-19 related deaths in the state.
The two other worst-hit districts are Faridabad and Sonipat, which, like Gurgaon, fall in the National Capital Region next to Delhi. Together, these three districts account for more than 4,000 cases and 46 of the 64 deaths as on June 11.
By May 31, Gurgaon had three deaths and 774 COVID-19 cases (487 active). But by June 11, the numbers rose to 19 fatalities and 2,737 cases (1,760 active). Gurgaon reported six deaths on a single day on June 11, the health department data showed.
Between May 31 and June 11, Haryana as a whole recorded a three-fold increase in coronavirus deaths and cases, from 20 to 64 and 2,091 to 5,968 respectively.
The COVID-19 positive rate went up from 1.84 per cent to 3.80 per cent during the period and the fatality rate increased from 0.96 per cent to 1.07 per cent. The rate of doubling of cases accelerated from 9 to 7 days, and the recovery rate dropped to 37.87 per cent from 50.12 per cent, according to the data.
In Faridabad, the total cases rose from 367 and eight fatalities on May 31 to 929 cases and 22 deaths by June 11. In Sonipat, the total cases rose from 199 and one death on May 31 to 502 and five deaths by June 11.
Gurgaon's Chief Medical Officer Virender Yadav said a majority of the 19 patients who died in the district either had co-morbid conditions or were aged above 60 years.
"The patients either had co-morbid conditions including cardiac issues, diabetes, other severe ailments or were above 60 years of age," Dr Yadav told PTI over the phone.
Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Rajiv Arora too said most of the patients who died across the state had severe co-morbid conditions.
Yadav, who was the CMO of the adjoining Nuh district, joined as CMO Gurgaon replacing Dr J S Punia, who amid rising cases in the "millennium city", was transferred to Nuh.
Yadav, credited with controlling spread of the pandemic to a large extent in Nuh, which has a total over 100 cases with no fatality, said his immediate priority was to have results of samples processed within 36 hours which at present was 4-5 days in Gurgaon.
When results are available in a shorter span of time, it helps in quickly tracing the patient's contact and taking remedial measures, Yadav said. Arora, when asked about the sudden rise in cases, especially in Gurgaon and Faridabad, said on Thursday, "we are alive and alert".
Asked if Gurgaon was heading towards community transmission, he said the district's population was nearly 2 million and going by the number of active cases, that wasn't the case.
He said more than 75 lakh people live in the four districts of Gurgaon, Faridabad, Sonipat and Jhajjar, and there are around 2,600 active cases in these areas, which is why this cannot be called community spread.
Increasing sampling, better contact-tracing, tracking those with travel history and house-to-house search by health workers, especially among the vulnerable sections of society, were some of the measures which the health department was taking, Arora said.
As cases continued to mount from the NCR districts, Health Minister Anil Vij recently said he was concerned at the rate at which infections were spreading in areas adjoining the national capital. He cited movement of people from Delhi into these districts of Haryana as the reason behind the surge in cases.
Vij, who is also the home minister, had imposed stricter restrictions on inter-state borders, especially in the districts that share borders with Delhi, including Gurgaon. For the time being, shopping malls and places of worship have not been reopened for the public in Gurgaon and Faridabad.