GUWAHATI, June 24 - From banks to malls, to private hospitals and apartments � COVID-19 cases continued to be detected from across Guwahati, prompting the Health Department to admit on Wednesday that the city was in grip of the first stage of community transmission of the virus.
During the day, 226 new COVID-19 cases were detected in the State taking the tally to 6282. However, 196 cured patients were discharged from different hospitals across the State.
The State Bank of India was forced to close down four of its branches � New Guwahati, Fancy Bazar, Lokhra LCPC branch and Khanapara � after detection of positive cases. Fourteen have tested positive in the SBI�s LCPC branch at Lokhra and six at the Fancy Bazar branch.
�One floor of the SBI local head office at Dispur was also sealed after an employee tested positive. The branches are being sanitized and they should resume operations from Monday. All the primary contacts of the patients are being tested,� an official said. A staff of the PWD NH office at Chandmari has also tested positive. An electrician of Nemcare Hospital has also tested positive, but hospital authorities said he was at home for the last few days and there was no chance of the transmission in the hospital from him.
An employee of the North East Small Finance Bank has also tested positive. Three of his primary contacts have been quarantined and his office cabin sealed. �The office is being sanitized following all disaster management protocols,� a bank official said.
�Yesterday, of the total 203 cases detected in the State, 102 were from Guwahati alone which is a dangerous sign. We urge people to avoid travelling to Guwahati unless it is essential. Those in the city should remain at home as much as possible,� Minister of State for Health Pijush Hazarika told reporters.
He admitted that the spike was an indication of the first stage of community transmission as cases were being detected �anywhere and everywhere�.
He also indicated that more wards may be locked down if the need arises. The State government had imposed a complete lockdown in 11 of the 31 wards in Guwahati from 9 pm of Tuesday.