With no history of travel or contact in Kashmir’s third COVID-19 death, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Wednesday said this could be another indication of community spread of the novel (new) coronavirus in the valley.
“This may be another case to have contracted the infection from community exposure,” said DAK President Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
“The deceased, 52 years old male, known diabetic from Hajin area of district Bandipora had developed respiratory symptoms a few days back and was admitted in SMHS hospital on Monday with pneumonia where he deteriorated and died the same day due to respiratory failure. His test results came positive for COVID-19 after his death,” he said.
Dr Nisar said he had no history of travel or contact with any positive case of the virus.
He said we had earlier instances of cases where the source of infection was unknown.
“One week back, an elderly male from Tangmarg area of district Baramulla died of coronavirus in Chest Disease hospital and his source of infection could not be traced,” Dr Nisar said.
“A few days back, we had another young male from Nishat, Srinagar who had contracted the virus through an unknown source,” he added.
Dr Nisar said these cases are significant as they mean that the infection is spreading untraced in the community.
“When the source of transmission for cases is not traceable it is called community transmission,” he said.
Dr Nisar said there may be many more cases than just a few that have been confirmed.
“To pick them up we need to expand testing. If we don’t expand testing, how can we say there is no community spread,” he said adding “we need to shift our focus from a predominantly target testing to community testing.”
“Mass testing is important as that would determine the actual burden of community transmission and would allow us to implement informed containment strategies.
With the availability of rapid tests, health authorities in Kashmir should conduct mass testing of hotspots and random sampling of other areas to know the actual magnitude of the problem,” said Dr Nisar.