COVID-19 death toll rises to 27, Odisha plans plasma therapy

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COVID-19 death toll rises to 27, Odisha plans plasma therapy
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Bhubaneswar, Jul 2 () The death toll due to COVID-19 in Odisha rose to 27 after two more died of the disease, while the tally climbed to 7,545 with 229 fresh cases, a health department official said on Thursday.

At least 149 COVID-19 patients recovered on Thursday, taking the total number of cured people to 5,502, which is 72.92 per cent of the total COVID-19 positive cases in the state, the official said.

Two men, aged 49 and 57, died of COVID-19 during treatment at separate hospitals in Ganjam and Angul districts.

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"... to inform the deaths of two COVID-19 positive patients, while under treatment in hospitals," the health department said in a statement.

Of the 27 deaths so far in Odisha, Ganjam, the worst-hit district, accounts for 15, followed by five in Khurda, four in Cuttack, and one each in Bargarh, Puri and Angul, he said.

Eight other coronavirus patients had died earlier but their deaths were attributed to "non-COVID reasons", the official said.

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The state had reported its first COVID-19 fatality in Bhubaneswar on April 6.

The official said of the new 229 COVID-19 cases, 193 were reported from quarantine centres where people returning from other states are lodged for preliminary observation and care, while 36 others were detected as a result of the contact-tracing exercises.

With new cases, fresh recoveries and casualty, the active cases in the state now stands at 2,008. A total of 5,502 patients have recovered and 27 died of the disease.

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Ganjam district recorded the highest of 95 cases, he said, adding that other districts that reported a high number of new cases are Balasore (24), Jajpur (22), Khurda (21), Sundergarh (17), Cuttack (12) and Jharsuguda (10).

A total of 3,994 samples were tested in the last 24 hours, he added.

Meanwhile, during a high-level meeting presided over by state Health and Family Welfare Minister N K Das, it was decided to start plasma therapy for the treatment of the critical COVID-19 patients in order to reduce the mortality rate, which till now remains at 0.35.

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The minister said the plasma therapy will be implemented in four hospitals in the first phase and later extended if required. The four places selected for introduction of plasma therapy are: SCB Medical College Hospital, Ashwini Hospital in Cuttack, SUM Hospital and KIMS Hospital in Bhubaneswar.

The minister said a 'plasma bank' will be set up and a technical team to set guidelines for the plasma therapy treatment in the state.

Following a spurt in COVID-19 cases in Ganjam, the local administration has banned the movement of vehicles in the district till July 31, barring the transportation of agricultural goods and healthcare resources.

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"We urge people not to leave their houses. Movement of two-wheelers with authentic identity will only be allowed," District Collector VA Kulange said, adding that the district reported 1,567 cases, of which 461 are active.

Meanwhile, authorities of Kendrapara, Rayagada, Nayagarh, Bargarh and Balangir districts have announced weekend shutdowns to contain the spread of the deadly virus.

The district administrations took precautionary measures by enforcing weekend shutdowns following increasing cases.

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All the commercial establishments and movement of private vehicles, hotels, restaurants and bars excluding essential and healthcare services will remain shut for two days on Saturday and Sunday every week in Nayagarh, Bargarh and Balangir districts.

Earlier, the state government had already announced weekend shutdown in 10 high load districts like Ganjam, Gajapati, Khurda, Cuttack, Jajpur, Jagatsinghpur, Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar and Jharsuguda till July 31.

Malkangiri administration also declared a 17-hour shutdown in the district restricting movement of vehicles and non-essential services from 2 pm to 7 am till July 31. The relaxation is, however, granted for only 7 hours in the morning till 2 pm everyday, a senior official said.

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The state government has also restricted entry of visitors to major government offices like the Lok Seba Bhavan, Kharavel Bhavan, Krushi Bhavan and Rajiv Bhavan in Bhubaneswar till July 31. AAM RG KJ KJ
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