In a change in tack, the Goa government has started a survey of people living in the state’s slums and close-cluster areas, even as the COVID-19 footprint in the coastal state appears to be spreading geographically.
Late on Thursday, three members of a family of a security guard posted at an urban health centre in South Goa’s Vasco town tested corona positive. The guard lived in the Chimbel slum, near Panaji, from where he travelled to work to the health centre Vasco.
Nearly 10 staffers of the urban health centre, which is in charge of COVID-19 testing operations at the state’s only containment zone at Mangor hill, have tested positive.
“Three cases have been confirmed in Chimbel. It is the family of the security guard who used to work at our UHC in Vasco, who was found positive. 52 samples from Chimbel have been collected and their results are awaited,” state Health Secretary Nila Mohanan said.
The state currently has 350 active COVID-19 cases. Until earlier this week, a bulk of the active cases were identified in the Mangor hill area, which was later designated as a containment zone.
However, over the last few days, the infection has spread over a much large geographical area, its footprint even reaching remote areas in the Sattari sub district located in the foothills of the Western ghats. Most of the cases in Sattari were linked to health workers who lived in the remote area, but travelled to the Vasco urban health centre to work.
The emergence of new cases in slum clusters, including Chimbel near Panaji, also appears to have forced the state administration and the Health Ministry to rethink its strategy.
“Depending on the results of the tests we have conducted, we will take a call on whether Chimbel is to be declared a containment zone,” Mohanan said.
The Health Secretary also said that surveys were also being conducted in other slum clusters like Moti Dongor in Margao town and Shanti nagar in Ponda sub district to identify persons with influenza or Severe Acute Respiratory Infection-like symptoms.