Chennai accounted for most of the new infections with 1,977 cases, taking the aggregate to 2,63,129. The metropolis also leads in the number of fatalities with 4,312.
A total of 84,546 samples were tested on Saturday, pushing the cumulative number of specimens examined to 2,04,31,588.
Chengalpet reported 615 fresh cases today, Coimbatore 501, Thiruvallur 212, Madurai 194, Tiruchirappalli 187, Kancheepuram 181, Tiruppur 154, Nagapattinam 144, Salem 135, Cuddalore 127, Tirunelveli 117, Thanjavur 116 and Tuticorin 102.
As many as 26 people who arrived from various destinations were among those who tested positive.
The government said a private lab in Krishnagiri district was recently accorded approval to conduct COVID-19 tests, taking the total number of facilities operating in the state to 261.
Meanwhile, Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said the government was stepping up COVID-19 infrastructure facilities following the surge in infections.
After inspecting a ward that has been set up at the Victoria Boys Hostel in the city, he said there were 11,775 beds available at 11 places and COVID-19 positive patients with mild symptoms or ‘nil’ symptoms would be admitted in these facilities (like the ward in the boys hostel).
The ward has been linked to the Government Medical College Omandurar Hospital, he said.
Noting that the new COVID-19 cases were increasing on a daily basis in Tamil Nadu, he said districts like Chennai, Chengalpet, Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram, Coimbatore, Thanjavur, and Nagapattinam were posing a challenge in containing the virus spread.
COVID-19 monitoring officials and field level officers were working on war-footing in such districts, he said, adding 15 field level officers were appointed to the 15 zones that come under the Greater Chennai Corporation jurisdiction.
To a query, Radhakrishnan said the department was working on a strategy in which it isolates an individual who tested COVID-19 positive and tests about 20-30 of his contacts and treats them.
Strongly urging people to wear a mask while going out, Radhakrishnan said it was the major step in breaking the virus chain.
On whether the state was facing any shortage of vaccines, he said “We are not facing any shortage of doses and currently there are 18 lakh vaccine doses available.”
Tamil Nadu was receiving the vaccine from the Centre based on the average consumption, the official said.
Appealing to those eligible people to come forward and take the jab, Radhakrishnan said “while in other states people were standing in queues to get vaccinated, the case was different in Tamil Nadu since we search for people (to get vaccinated)”. VIJ BN BN