The Sikkim government sent 98 Covid-19 samples for genome testing to a lab in West Bengal, to obtain a clearer picture of the positivity rate in the state. However, 97 out of those samples have tested positive for the Delta variant of coronavirus, adding to the state’s worry.
The Delta variant, first discovered in India, has been attributed to be one of the driving forces of the second wave in the country. The mutation is linked to high transmissibility and severe cases of infection.
Sikkim Health Minister MK Sharma said on Monday that 98 random samples were sent to Kalyani in West Bengal for genome testing on June 23. “Of those, 97 samples have tested positive for the Delta variant of Covid-19,” he said.
“The Delta Variant is not just highly transmissible, but it makes the patient serious with minimum symptoms. I urge people to come to the hospital as early as possible,” Sharma said.
The COVID-19 positivity rate in Sikkim has been at 18.6% during July, so far. “We can now conclude that the positivity rate hasn’t gone down because of the spread of Delta Variant in Sikkim. The Covid fatality rate is at 0.59, which is not so worrisome,” he added.
The minister said a total lockdown in Sikkim would not be feasible at the moment. “But micro containment of wards and villages is being carried out," he said.
Sharma said the government will now follow up on samples of patients who have already recovered and checked out of hospitals. “This will help us understand high Covid positivity in certain areas and communities of Sikkim, concerning the presence of Delta variant for better containment measures,” he said.
The health minister said the second wave of Covid was ongoing in the state.