105 deaths of COVID-19 positive patients in Bengal: 33 directly from the virus & 72 from co-morbidities

West Bengal chief secretary Rajiva Sinha on Wednesday said that the number of deaths from Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the state has now increased to 33. The audit committee for COVID-19 related cases in the state has examined 105 deaths of COVID-19 positive patients so far and found that 33 of them died directly due to the virus and 72 deaths were caused by co-morbidities, Sinha said.

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Bengal at present is 572, out of which 37 were detected in the last 24 hours. So far, 139 have been discharged after recovering from COVID-19 with 15 of them being discharged in the last 24 hours.

The committee is not auditing death certificates issued, but only on the causes of death to ascertain the exact cause, the chief secretary said. It was formed so that the government could do a detailed study on the nature and impact of the virus and plan a treatment protocol, Sinha said.

Based on their study, the committee has suggested that keeping of medical record for each COVID-19 case needs “a lot of improvement”. The committee has also said that death certificates issued from various hospitals for COVID-19 related deaths does not follow the format prescribed by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

The committee said that the death certificates must contain the following parameters according to ICMR guidelines – immediate cause, antecedent cause and underlying cause of death. Apart from these, the interval of “presumed onset of conditions and death” should be mentioned in the case history of patient, the committee has suggested. Proper documentation of each case should be done.

In a video-conference meeting today, the state has suggested to other states that after the ongoing country-wide lockdown is over on May 3, people stranded in other states be sent back to their homes in batches rather than together. They should also be screened for COVID-19 before being sent to their home states.

However, those who are returning from other states and have their homes in containment zones, won’t be allowed to go there till the containment period is over, Sinha said. The government will help bring back those stranded in other states after they reach the borders of Bengal once they contact the administration.

The state currently has 444 containment zones. Out of these, 264 are in Kolkata. Sinha said that the state has tested 1,905 COVID-19 samples in last 24 hours and 16,525 samples till date. The state currently has 14 labs out of which the CNCI lab at Rajarhat is not functioning due to some technical problems for past three days.

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