The districts of Ranchi and East Singhbhum in Jharkhand are the two worst affected by the spread of COVID-19, with Ranchi having the highest caseload and death toll.
However, the last three days have seen the rate of daily case addition shot up sharply in East Singhbhum, averaging 1000 daily cases, pushing the healthcare infrastructure in the plateau district to the hilt.
A visit to the casualty ward of the district hospital provides the most accurate indication of the healthcare situation of any region, particularly rural India.
Situated in the outskirts of the city and catering to the rural belts in East and West Singhbhum districts and villages on the Odisha border, the Sadar hospital located in Jamshedpur has seen a significant jump in patient inflow.
The number of people visiting the emergency wards in district hospitals has gone up 3-4 fold, from 20-25 people daily in early April to nearly 80-90 patients now.
Healthcare workers say nearly 80-90 percent of patients coming to the casualty wards now are with symptoms that resemble Covid -- fall in oxygen saturation, breathlessness, fever, weakness, loss of appetite, among others.
Most have not been testing for Covid or had tested negative on the rapid antigen test. A mandatory RT-PCR follow test was most often not conducted.
Many are reaching hospitals when the disease has advanced. Doctors say people coming from rural areas have either got delayed treatment or were misdiagnosed.
Lack of timely treatment is also reflecting in rising mortality. At least 2-3 patients lose their lives either on their way to the casualty or while on emergency care.
Watch the ground report from the East Singhbhum district hospital in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand.