Berhampur, Aug 2 (PTI) The COVID-19 death toll in Odisha's Ganjam district on Sunday crossed the 100-mark with four more persons succumbing to the virus, while 320 new cases pushed the coronavirus count to 10,992, an official said.

The total fatalities in the district now stand at 103 with the death of four persons, including two females of 94 and 45-year-old and two males of 57-year-old, the official said.

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While the district reported its first COVID 19 case on May 2, the first death case was reported on May 6, when a person from Polasra block died in a quarantine centre.

The district recorded 14 deaths by the end of June, while at least 80 persons lost their lives during treatment in COVID hospital in the month of July.

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Nine persons died in the first two days of the current month, sources said.

In the month of July, Ganjam district had reported 8,892 COVID-19 cases, sources added.

While the death toll in the entire state stands at 197, Ganjam alone accounted for 103 deaths, the official said.

"The entire district is under the grip of panic as people die on a daily basis," said Gopal Krushna Reddy, a resident of Gandhi Nagar.

District administration and health experts, however, said that high incidents of death in Ganjam is due to hiding of symptoms and delayed arrival at the hospital.

"The doctors could not get sufficient time when a person is rushed to the hospital in critical condition," said Ganjam collector Vijay Amruta Kulange. Most of the deceased had rushed to hospital in critical condition, he said.

"When a patient is under the observation of the doctors from its early stage, the chances of survival of the patients is more," said Sunil Kumar Kotta, a private practitioner. "We have advised the patients to rush to the hospital early," he added.

As fear-psychosis was one of the causes for the patients reluctant to visit the hospital, district administration needs to work out the strategy to build confidence among them, suggested Jayant Kumar Mohapatra, former vice-chancellor, Berhampur University.

Opposition BJP and Congress leaders alleged that patients died due to lack of proper treatment. Several patients alleged could not get proper treatment in the COVID hospital for which some of them died, alleged said BJPs former district president Kanhu Charan Pati.

Meanwhile, the state government has opened two more dedicated COVID Hospitals in Ganjam and also started plasma therapy for the treatment of critical patients.

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