The trend has left the authorities worried, as the health infrastructure in villages is weaker as compared to urban areas. Of 253 deaths between March15 and 21,119 were in districts where over 60% of the population is rural by residence. Out of 15,355 people who tested positive for the virus in the seven-day period, 5,747 were from these nine districts.
Hoshiarpur, where 78.85% of the total population resides in rural areas, is the worst in the lot by contributing maximum deaths and cases to the state’s overall tally.
Timely treatment can save lives: Pb Covid nodal officer
The virus claimed the lives of 48 people, the highest in the state, and infected 1,815 cases, the third highest in the state, during the period.
Nawanshahr recorded 23 deaths, the fourth highest toll, while 824 cases surfaced in the district. Ten deaths and 885 cases were reported in Kapurthala. Tarn Taran having 87.37% population in rural areas – the highest in the state – reported nine deaths and 196 cases.
Five of these districts – Tarn Taran (4.8%), Sangrur (4.3%), Ropar (4%), Hoshiarpur (3.7%) and Fatehgarh Sahib (3.5) — have a case fatality rate higher than the state’s overall average of 2.96%.
High severity of symptoms at the time of visiting the health facility for the first time has been held as the main reasons behind the high fatality rate, especially in rural areas.
According to the record of the health department, 77.90%, patients approached the hospital for treatment when their symptoms had become very severe, while 14.10% sought treatment when symptoms were moderate and 8% when they were carrying mild symptoms.
A high percentage of deaths have been reported in the age group of 61 and above. In the age category of 61 to 70, 31.70% of deaths have been reported, while 31.50% in the age group of above 70 years and 20.30% in the age bracket of 51-60 years. Only 1.40% of deaths have been reported in the 15-40 age group.
Seeking timely treatment holds the key, asserted Dr Rajesh Bhaskar, Covid nodal officer, Punjab. A high success rate has been observed among patients who approach hospitals for treatment in time. “People should get themselves tested and seek treatment right at the start, giving doctors required time to treat and save their lives,” he said. Dr Bhaskar stated that the majority of deaths have been reported among the elderly population and individuals having underlying health conditions who failed to take timely treatment.