Chances of interaction among families and easy chance of virus transmission in settlements
The increase in COVID-19 cases in plantation areas, tribal settlements, and vegetable hubs has raised concern among health officials as they fear that the community living system followed there may aggravate the situation.
Though the average number of cases per day has been below 1,500 in the district, a spurt in cases has been reported from the plantation areas of Devikulam, Udumbanchola, and Peerumade and a few tribal settlements in these taluks. The vegetable hubs of Kanthallur and Vattavda have also reported a spurt in cases recently.
Plantation workers live in estate quarters with each family having a kitchen, central room, and a front portion in a single line. Bathrooms, toilets, and water connections are for all, which increases the chances of interaction among families and easy chance of virus transmission.
A large number of cases were reported at Arekkar Urali tribal colony in Ayyappancoil grama panchayat in Peerumade taluk recently. Though the cases were limited to a colony, there were chances of the infection spreading to nearby tribal settlements as there were interaction between the settlements, a health worker said.
District Medical Officer Priya N. said the District Collector recently convened a meeting to check the spread of the disease to plantation areas. “When a family in a plantation area contracts the infection, the members are shifted to COVID care centres. In case of clusters in worker colonies, the colony is isolated as a separate zone,” she said.
She said the number of COVID-19 tests had been increased in plantation areas. At present, there was no vaccine shortage in Kanthallur, she added.
In Vattavada, nearly 30 people in Samiyala Colony were infected and remedial measures had been initiated.
A few forest tribal settlements in Anchunadu had also reported COVID-19 cases recently. Of the 25 settlements in Marayur, the infection was reported in seven settlements, including the three adjacent to the town. A forest official said a few cases recently reported were under strict monitoring and essentials were being reached to the families of the patients. The chances of the disease spreading were remote as the settlements were spread over a large area. However, they were being treated as containment zones limiting people’s movement.
In the forest settlements of Muthuvans, boys and aged men usually sleep at common halls called ‘Chathram’. This increases the chances of the spread of the disease there, says Jayan Variath, a local journalist.
A team of health officials of the Youth Welfare Board is stationed at Kanthallur. District medical task force, nurses, volunteers, and doctors are in the team. Ambulances have also been made available.
A health worker at Kanthallur said the number of tests had been increased with the test positivity rate remaining high. The situation was under control, he said.
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