Much to the respite of health and administration officials and the common people, Siliguri today reported only a single death of a Covid patient.

A resident of Gonsaipur under the Naxalbari block in Darjeeling district died in the Desun (Covid) Hospital at Kawakhali. The 43-year-old person was referred from the safe home at Limbutary and admitted in the hospital on 1 August.

Also today, 44 new cases were detected in the Siliguri Municipal Corporation, including in areas under both Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts, sources said.

A total of 83 cases were reported in Darjeeling district, including 24 in the SMC, 31 at Naxalbari, seven at Matigara, two in Kurseong Municipality, nine in Kurseong subdivision, two in Mirik, two in Phansidewa, one in Bijanbari and one in Sukna, officials said. On the other hand, 62 patients were discharged from treatment facilities, including home isolation.

Jan-July deaths ‘less’

While the disease had been claiming lives almost every day, health department officials argued that the deaths in Darjeeling district were less between January and July this year, as compared to the same period last year. However, the rate was higher between May and July this year. It is learnt that a total of 5,528 people died in this period last year, while 4,554 people died this year.

According to data available with the department, when 690 people died in May in 2019, a total of 704 died this year in the same month. In June last year, 645 people died, but the figure was 782 this year. Statistics further reveal that 879 persons died in July (2019), and 896 this year in the same period. Covid-19 cases and deaths saw a peak in Darjeeling district since June, while threefour deaths on an average occurred at health facilities in Siliguri every day. Among the dead were residents of different north Bengal districts and Bihar too.

“Till 12 August in north Bengal, 97 people who had tested positive for Covid-19, including those with co-morbidities, died, with the death rate of 0.733 percent. During this period, 13,222 positive cases were detected with the death rate of 8.2 percent,” a health department official said. According to officials associated with Covid-19 management in the district, the recovery rate was 75.59 percent, and that 9,995 patients had been discharged so far after they were cured. The number of active cases is 3130, and the figure for total samples tested is 1,61,133 so far.

Broad-based containment zones

Although the Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC) area has registered a slight decline in the number of Covid-19 cases, the Darjeeling district administration has set up broad-based containment zones in four wards under the civic body–2, 15, 17 and 29–following a rise in cases there. The coordinator of Ward 29, Saradindu Chakrabarty, alleged that he was not aware of the move officially. “I was not aware of the decision. The administration should have informed the ward coordinators,” Mr Chakrabarty said. Secretary of the committee of Ward 17, Sangram Singha Mitra, said members were actively reaching out to the people in the containment zones.

On the other hand, Malda saw a spike in the number of Covid cases last night, as 125 samples were tested positive in the Malda Medical College and Hospital. The day’s total was the highest number of single- day infections in the district so far, sources said. Ratua- II block again topped the day’s tally with 37 cases, EBM 17, Gazole 12, Chanchal-I and II with 14 cases each.