Of the 175 new COVID-19 cases reported on Wednesday, 30 were found to be local cases. This is the second time since June 2 when the state had reported 31 local cases. With this the total number of local COVID-19 cases in the state have reached 242 which is 11 per cent of the 2,234 cases between June 1 and June 16.
The average 150-180 cases that are detected every day, has given rise to the number of local cases as well, that has led epidemiologists to believe that community transmission may have started in the state.
"There is little doubt that community transmission has started in Odisha. The government is not ready to admit it as it would create panic. We are reaching a stage when contact tracing has little relevance," an epidemiologist of a government hospital while speaking to The Hindustan Times.
According to the official, there are chances of having local cases in large numbers. They would come up only if the state escalates testing from the current 3,000 samples a day.
Adding, the epidemiologist said that the state had set a target of 15,000 samples this month, but the machines in some of the labs are still waiting to be repaired. Hence, that leaves little room for detecting community transmission.
Odisha reported 174 new cases today from 18 districts, taking the total to 4,512. Of the new cases, 146 are from different quarantine centres, where people returning from other parts of the country are lodged, the health department officials informed. The process of contact tracing and follow up action is being taken.
Ganjam district continues to be the worst affected by the outbreak with more than 755 cases, primarily after the return of 2.5 lakh migrant workers from Gujarat, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana. The district also reported 13 confirmed cases of infection among front-line workers.
As per the last 24-hours update, Odisha now has 1,354 active cases, with 3,144 recoveries, and 11 fatalities.
Meanwhile, the state government announced setting up of COVID-19 care home facilities in every panchayat, to accommodate 10-20 people with symptoms like cold, cough and fever. If found positive, they will be shifted to the dedicated COVID-19 hospitals.