Until about six weeks ago, the number of people confirmed to have contracted Covid-19 in Chattogram was at its lowest point during the pandemic. But in the past one-and-a-half months, the situation in the port city has U-turned, with 200 confirmed cases and an 11.21% infection rate in the last 24 hours till Monday 8am.
Previously, on Saturday the city recorded its highest daily infection rate since January – 12.20%. The increase in infections is being accompanied by an increase in hospitalisations.
The Covid-19 outbreak and infection rate in Chattogram were plummeting at the start of this year.
According to data by the Civil Surgeon's Office, during the last 20 days of January confirmed cases in the port city remained below 100. This trend continued throughout most of February. The number of daily infections remained below the 100 mark for 26 days during the last month.
On 6 February, the city recorded its lowest daily infection rate, 5%, of the pandemic, with only 21 confirmed cases. But infections started to pick up speed in the beginning of March.
Dr Sheikh Fazle Rabbi, Chattogram's civil surgeon said, "For several months, the Covid-19 infection rate in Chattogram was under 5%. But since the start of March, this rate has been rising."
"Saturday saw the highest infection rate, 12.20%, since January. That rate will further increase to 13%, if the data of outbound passengers is excluded," he added.
Chattogram recorded its highest single-day infection rate during the pandemic on 13 June last year, when 269 people were confirmed to have contracted the virus. This was the first time the city recorded over 200 confirmed cases in a day. Eight days later, on 22 June, the number of daily infections again exceeded the 200 mark, with 217 confirmed cases.
Eight months later, Chattogram is experiencing the same situation. During the last three days, the infection rate in the city has stayed above 10%. The infection rates on 19, 20 and 21 March were 10.85%, 12.20% and 11.21%, respectively.
ICUs full of Covid-19 patients
According to health officials, currently, most of the 30 Intensive care units (ICU) are being used to treat Covid-19 patients. Patients suffering from other diseases, or injured in accidents, are no longer being admitted to the units.
Fazle Rabbi said, "There are 30 ICUs in the state-run hospitals in Chattogram. None of those units are vacant at present."
Meanwhile, among those confirmed to be infected with the virus on Sunday, 171 people are residents of the city, while the rest 29 are from different upazilas. No death from the virus was recorded on the day.
Also, 64 people were declared free of Covid-19 on Sunday, bringing the total number of recovered Covid-19 patients to 33,512.
So far, 383 people have died from the novel coronavirus in Chattogram. Among them, 281 were residents of the city and 102 were from different villages.
Analysing the ages of Covid-19 patients in Chattogram, the highest rate of infection is being seen in people between the age of 31-40 years. They account for 24% of the total infection rate, while people between the age of 21–30 years account for 19%. The lowest number of infections is seen among the age group of 60 and above, with a 13% infection rate.