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Delta Not Omicron Driving COVID Surge In Odisha, Reveals ILS Study

Bhubaneswar: The daily COVID infection in Odisha may cross 2nd wave peak in the next few days, Health Services Director Bijay Mohapatra informed on Thursday.

While the daily caseload breached the 1000-mark in the last 24 hours, ending at 9 am this morning, Odisha had logged the highest single-day spike of 12,390 New COVID cases in May last year.

“Though cases are rising, the hospitalisation rate is quite low. While general beds occupancy is 6.51 per cent, 12.51 per cent of patients are in ICU,” he said.

Interestingly, the third wave in the state is not being driven by Omicron and Delta continues to be the dominant variant of concern.

The latest genome sequencing of community samples at the Institute of Life Sciences (ILS), Bhubaneswar, revealed that 74.5 per cent were found infected with Delta variant and the rest Omicron. These samples were drawn from nine districts between December 29 and January 9. These, however, did not include any foreign returnee or travellers to other states.

“Of the 263 samples randomly drawn from the community, 196 were detected with Delta and its sub-lineages (AY.44 and the original B.1.617.2 ) and 67 with Omicron,” said ILS director Ajay Parida.

Omicron and two of its sub-lineages accounted for 25.5 per cent. Notably, 170 people have been infected by this variant of COVID in the state.

“The findings of the genome sequencing are indicative of Delta still dominantly circulating in the community. So there should not be any complacency in management and treatment of patients with a false impression of Omicron variant which is less likely to be severe,” said a scientist told TNIE.

The scientist further said that among those infected with Omicron, BA.2 was found among the samples with a CT value of below 30, indicating a high viral load. “Since the variant has been detected in districts like Balasore, Khurda, Cuttack, Jharsuguda and Puri that has been fuelling the caseload, it is possible that this sub-lineage is causing the local clusters in such districts,” he added.

The ILS director, however, said that Delta may be dominant as per the latest data, but Omicron sub-type BA.2 is fast replacing it in the state. “We will conduct the sequencing of 250 more community samples on Monday. The samples will include the cases from January 10. This will give a clear picture on Omicron presence here,” he was quoted as saying by the national daily.