Only 18 of 57 deaths caused ‘directly’ by COVID-19, says West Bengal govt’s audit panel

By: |
April 25, 2020 8:46 AM

The total number of COVID-19 cases in West Bengal is 503, while the Union health and family welfare ministry website puts it at 514.

The 39 other deaths were caused by severe co-morbidity conditions.

A West Bengal government panel set up to ascertain the exact number of COVID-19 deaths in the state, has, after auditing 57 suspected COVID-19 deaths, certified that only 18 of them were caused “directly by the disease”, Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha said on Friday.

The 39 other deaths were caused by severe co-morbidity conditions, he said referring to the audit committee report. Three novel coronavirus patients have died in West Bengal in the past 24 hours, taking the death toll to 18 in the state, Sinha said.

“We got a report from the audit committee that they have looked into 57 deaths. Out of it, they certified that 18 were directly caused by COVID19 while 39 others were because of severe co-morbid conditions which were the immediate cause of the deaths and COVID 19 was the incidental findings,” Sinha said.
The committee constituted on April 3 audited deaths registered during the last 20 days and those allegedly because of COVID-19 before that date.

Among the co-morbidities of the 39 deaths, the audit committee mentioned cardiomyopathy with chronic kidney disease, renal failure, cerebral vascular accident, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, left ventricular failure in severe hypertension, multi organ failure in type two diabetes and hypertension, red-cell aplasia in a case of severe diabetes and hypertension and severe diabetes with hypertension with hypo natremia.

The IAS officer said, “There are several reasons behind forming this audit committee. We wanted to know how many died because of COVID-19 or how many deaths the coronavirus has facilitated or whether a patient testing positive have died due to some other reasons.”

“I am not that well informed to state whether people died because of the complications they developed or because of having other diseases. It cannot be decided by a bureaucrat and not even by you (media persons). There is an expert committee who are explaining and taking a decision,” he said. Sinha said three deaths were confirmed by the audit committee in the past 24 hours.

During that period, 51 new COVID-19 positive cases were detected in Kolkata and districts of Howrah, North 24 Parganas, Hooghly, Purba Burdwan, Paschim Medinipur and Purba Medinipur taking the total number of active cases to 385, he said.

He said 943 samples were tested for coronavirus infection during the past 24 hours and 103 patients have been discharged from hospitals till Friday. Sinha said a total of 8,933 samples have been tested for COVID-19 till now in the state.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in West Bengal is 503, while the Union health and family welfare ministry website puts it at 514. Sinha said the state was planning to set up more quarantine centres in the state mainly in Kolkata, Howrah and North 24 Parganas districts.

Later, referring to complaints that patients were denied treatment at several medical college hospitals and other state-run facilities, Sinha issued instructions to the authorities that no patient should be refused treatment at any medical institutions.

“In case of referral, patients should be invariably provided with ambulance support. A dead body should be immediately shifted from wards maintaining all protocols,” the chief secretary said at a meeting.

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