COVID-19 patient clustering, a first in State

‘First sign of a community spread’

Kerala was the first State in the country to have reported confirmed COVID-19 cases over a month ago. However, these were all imported cases from China, who recovered well and the illness had been contained by the authorities with absolutely no secondary spread of the infection.

This is the first time that patient clustering has happened in the State, signalling a community spread of COVID-19 from an imported case. It also lays bare the fact that airport surveillance is not fool-proof. Unless the State initiates second-line surveillance of hospital-based cases of viral pneumonia from public and private sector hospitals immediately, community-spread of COVID-19 in other parts of the State would not come to light.

Health Minister K.K. Shylaja said despite appeals made by the Health Department it was irresponsible behaviour on the part of the family that now exposed the State to a serious threat of a possible spread of COVID-19.

She said when the district medical team visited the family, the family resisted hospitalisation. They had to be forcefully shifted to isolation ward at Pathanamthitta GH. The contact tracing exercise now under way is massive, as the family is believed to have made several social visits after reaching Kerala. It entails preparing a list of primary, secondary and tertiary contacts who will have to be quarantined.

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