DIMAPUR, Dec 20 - The Nagaland Health and Family Welfare Department has warned that due to limitless commercial events, parties and social gatherings this Christmas season, the State is at risk of widespread community transmission of COVID-19.
The department, in its weekly COVID-19 report published on Saturday, said the weekly percentage of traced contacts or cases from the community has increased from one percent in the first week of July to 83 percent this week.
It said the State is witnessing events and social gatherings on an alarming scale where COVID-19 appropriate behaviour is not being followed. It said December is very crucial in containing the spread of the infection.
Expressing concern that high number of asymptomatic cases in the State could mean that there are undetected silent super-spreaders, the report said cases will manifest only weeks after the event in high-risk people.
It said 50 percent of all traced contacts or cases from the community are in the age group of 21-40 years. The department cautioned that uncontrolled spread among this age group is increasing the risk in the higher age groups.
Unlike earlier days when most cases were transmitted from the returnees, the department said the situation now has become more critical as the traced contacts were from the community only.
�The situation is more alarming unlike earlier days when cases were mostly confined within the quarantine centres,� the department said.
It expressed concern that the weekly sample positivity rate also continued to remain one of the highest in the country at 10 percent, indicating that there are undetected cases.
The report stated that the people seeking admission in COVID-19 hospitals have increased by 50 percent from the previous week, signifying increase in moderate, severe and critical cases, and undetected transmission within the community.
Principal Director of the department Dr Vizolie Z Suokhrie said a consultative meeting between the department and various church organisations, civil society organisations, representatives of district administrations and municipal councils was held on December 16. The meeting appealed to the public to avoid mobile carolling in groups, processions, picnics, partying and various forms of mass entertainment events. It also advised deferment of conferences, jubilees, convocations scheduled during the festive season.
The meeting also advised the public to follow all SOPs at weddings and staggered devotional services to minimise overcrowding. Stating that if organising Christmas and New Year community feasts is unavoidable, the guests should be served takeaway packages and they should follow social distancing at all times.
Nagaland�s COVID-19 caseload went up to 11,841 on Saturday after nine more people tested positive for the disease.
The State has 538 active cases while the death toll remained unchanged at 73.
The number of people who recovered from the disease till now is 11,101, said an official source, adding that 129 patients have migrated to other States.
Altogether 1,18,485 samples have been tested so far for coronavirus in Nagaland, he said.