The Covid-19 positivity rate in the country climbed to a 51-day high of 14.12% on Saturday, even though the numbers of new cases and fatalities dropped.
An analysis of division-wise infection rates show the bordering divisions of Khulna, Rangpur and Rajshahi have continued to see increased infections, pushing up the countrywide infection rate.
On Saturday, the positivity rate was 30.64% in Khulna division, 25% in Rangpur division and 18.22% in Rajshahi division. In Dhaka division, the infection rate was 8.63%.
In the bordering districts of the country, the number of new Covid cases marked a significant rise in the past week due to the delta-type infections.
According to the DGHS bulletin, the number of new cases increased by 27.20% in the last seven days (6 June to 12 June) from that recorded in the previous week (30 May to 5 June). In the same period, sample testing increased by 2.43% and deaths rose by 7.14%.
Meanwhile, healthcare facilities in the regions with higher positivity rates are finding it difficult to provide services to the increasing number of patients.
Contacted, Brigadier General Shamim Yazdani, director of Rajshahi Medical College Hospital (RMCH), said the hospital has only 18 ICU beds but the authorities get 70-80 applications per day.
"Those who are not getting a bed at the ICU are being treated with high flow nasal cannulas," he added.
Dr Chinmay Kanti Das, former public health specialist of Rajshahi Medical College, said, "Most of the patients are dying because they are getting admitted after their lungs are severely damaged. If they could be diagnosed earlier, deaths could be reduced."
Stressing the need for public awareness, he suggested everyone to test fever, cold and cough to know whether they are infected and get treatment accordingly.
Dr Mushtaq Hossain, adviser to the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), said isolation should not be done only for those entering the country through the border.
Since delta type infections spread rapidly, the identified patients must be kept in complete isolation, he added.
Noting that less critical patients do not need to be treated in the hospital so that more critically ill patients who need oxygen quickly can be accommodated, he suggested people not to rush patients to hospitals. "Instead, initiatives need to be taken to treat patients keeping them in isolation."
The spread of the virus could be accelerated if people's movement in districts with high infection rates is not completely restricted.
Strict measures in this case will help to bring down the infection rate within two weeks, he believes.
The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) said on Saturday that 1,637 people were identified with the novel coronavirus in the country in the past 24 hours.
The figure was over 800 less than that of the previous day.
When contacted, Khulna Divisional Health Director Dr Rasheda Sultana told The Business Standard, "We have taken all possible initiatives to deal with the situation. Movement has been restricted in high-transmission areas in the division.
The situation will improve, if the people comply with the restrictions imposed by the government, she said.
Dr Abu Md Zakirul Islam, deputy health director of Rangpur Division, said although the number of patients here is not very high, the detection rate is higher than usual.
He said the health department was monitoring the situation all the time so that it does not deteriorate further.
The infection tally now stands at 8,24,486 in the country, reads a press release issued by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the death rate of Covid-19 also increased to 1.59% after a stable position at 1.58% for weeks.
Also, 39 more people succumbed to the viral disease in 24 hours span, taking the death toll to 13,071 in the country.
Also, 11,590 samples were tested in 510 labs across the country.
Among the latest day's victims, 26 were men, and 13 were women. Of the victims, 36 died in different hospitals across the country while three died at home.
Moreover, 11 of the deceased hailed from the Khulna Division, 10 from Dhaka, seven from Rajshahi, six from Chattogram, two each from Rangpur and Barishal, and one from Sylhet division.
Also, 2,108 patients were declared free of Covid-19 during the last 24 hours, with a 92.67% recovery rate.
The Covid-19 victims' gender breakdown shows that 9,406 of the total deceased across the country were men and 3,665 were women.
The country's maiden cases were reported on 8 March last year and the first death from the virus was reported on 18 March.
According to the standards set by the World Health Organisation, the rate of patient identification is an indicator of whether the situation is under control in a country.
In any country, the situation is considered under control if the daily infection rate is below 5% for more than two consecutive weeks.
But at present, there is no division in Bangladesh where the positivity rate is below 5%.
The lowest infection rate is in Barishal division where results of 8.40% of samples tested in the past 24 hours till Saturday at 8am came out positive. Apart from Barishal, Dhaka and Mymensingh divisions recorded less than 10% positivity rate on Saturday.