The highest rural penetration of the virus was seen in Hassan where more than 10,100 cases were reported in villages against 3,368 in urban pockets, according to state Covid war room data. In Tumakuru, 7,876 cases were reported from rural areas, compared to 2,214 in urban areas.
The increase in the number of cases in rural areas is a matter of concern, admitted CN Ashwath Narayana, deputy CM and head of the Covid task force. “We have mandated at taskforce meetings that no Covid patient in rural areas should be allowed to isolate at home. They must either be taken to Covid care centres or hospitals based on requirement. It’s a must to curb the spread,” said Narayana.
Need to increase testing: Doc
Dr MK Sudarshan, chairperson of technical advisory committee, said balancing Covid safety protocol with the literacy level in villages and rural lifestyle is challenging. “We are equally concerned about the scenario post-lockdown. Those who left for villages will come back to towns and there is a need to increase testing as asymptomatic carriers are likely to spread the virus further. Currently, the focus has been only on testing those with symptoms (and high risk contacts),” he said.
The state’s Covid war room has identified 20 worst-hit villages, going by cases reported in the past four weeks. These include Yaregowdanahalli in Mandya, Bilageri (Kodagu), Nailavagilu (Mysuru), Nandhahalli (Mandya), Agrahara (Chikkamagaluru) and Basavanadurga (Koppal). Tumakuru district health officer Dr MB Nagendrappa attributed the increase in infections in rural areas to people returning home from urban areas during the lockdown. “Testing in rural areas has been increased. If there are more than 20 infections in a place, it’s called the red zone. If there are 10-15 cases, it’s called a hotspot,” he said.
“About 70% of villagers who test positive do not want to go to the confined space of a CCC or hospital. They also resist getting tested,” said a health official from Ballari.
Watch Covid-19: Rural Karnataka reports more cases than urban