‘Delta variant of virus responsible for high hospitalisation rate’

Shillong, June 9: The genome sequencing report received by state government on Wednesday has revealed the presence of the highly infectious Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 in Meghalaya resulting in a higher rate of hospitalisation in the state.
“We got another report of the samples forwarded in May which shows that we have got the infectious Delta variant,” Principal Secretary, Health, Sampath Kumar revealed on Wednesday.
He informed that 91 percent of the 23 samples send for genome sequencing in May from West Garo Hills and 80 per cent of the 56 samples from East Khasi Hills and Ri Bhoi are confirmed cases of the Delta variant.
Kumar recalled that 53 percent of the samples sent in April had been confirmed as the Delta variant.
According to him, people who are infected with this variant have severe symptoms like diarrhea, gastric problems and other health issues. “This is one of the main reasons for the higher rate of hospitalisation. The mutated virus spreads rapidly and affects a larger population. People can be infected with the variant even with a short exposure,” Kumar said.
He however maintained that there was no need for panic and people should be cautious and adhere to health protocols.
The Delta variant, first detected in India in November 2020, is found to be behind the second wave in the country, according to a study. The study has revealed that the Delta variant is more infectious than others.
The Delta variant (also known as B.1.617.2 strain) is ‘more infectious’ than the Alpha variant which was first detected in UK, said a study carried out by scientists of Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia and National Centre for Disease Control.
Kumar also said that Meghalaya ranks fifth in the country in terms of the active case ratio with 12.5%.
The active case ratio is significantly higher in the Northeastern states with 23.7% in Mizoram, 23.1% in Sikkim, 20.3% in Nagaland, 16.2% in Manipur, 11.1% in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh and 10.2% in Tripura.
Kumar further said that the positivity rate in Meghalaya has been around 12.5 to 12.9 per cent in the last 10 to 14 days while the average number of daily new cases in the last 7 days is 442.
The positivity rate in the various districts in the past one week is 30% in West Jaintia Hills, 17% in East Khasi Hills, 12% in East Garo Hills, 11% in South West Garo Hills, 9% in West Garo Hills, Ri Bhoi and South West Khasi Hills, 8% in East Jaintia Hills and 7% in North Garo Hills and West Khasi Hills.
“A positivity rate of over 10% is a matter of concern,” he added.

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