COVID-19 | Karnataka to test vulnerable groups fornightly

A classroom being sanitised at Spurthy College of Nursing on the outskirts of Bengaluru on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: K. MURALI KUMAR

To augment and strengthen COVID-19 surveillance in view of clusters being reported in a few districts, the State Health Department has revised the daily testing targets from the existing 60,000 to 80,000.

According to a circular late on Saturday, targeted testing of ILI and SARI cases, contacts of positive cases and high-risk groups will continue. Besides, fortnightly random testing of selected groups has been mandatory.

“Students and teachers in colleges and high schools, staff of hotels and restaurants, shop-keepers in malls/ markets, catering staff and door delivery personnel, factory personnel, office goers, service staff in pubs and bars, attendants in cinema halls and multiplexes and others in crowds by vocation will be tested fortnightly,” the circular stated.

As per the revised target, a daily increase of 5,000 tests in BBMP area and 15,000 in the remaining districts is mandated. Of the total daily target, up to 50% of the samples should be from the district headquarters and the rest from the rural areas ensuring that 10% of the samples are taken from children. At least 5% of children in the schools should be tested every week to assess the safety of children in the schools.

Besides, all symptomatic cases should be tested by RAT and if found negative should undergo RT-PCR test as per ICMR protocols. “Asymptomatic cases should not be subjected to RAT. The proportion of RAT could be up to 30% of the total testing. Considering the current Test Positivity Rate in the State, which is about 0.3%, the samples may be pooled at 1:5 in the testing laboratories,” the circular added.

Repeat RT-PCR

Considering the high number of mutations of the Omicron variant reported from Botswana, South Africa and Hong Kong and its serious implications, the Health Department has said all those who arrived from these three countries in the last 15 days (from November 12 to November 27, 2021) will be tracked and subjected to repeat RT-PCR testing.

The department had made mandatory RT-PCR testing of all arrivals originating from these countries at the airport. “Only after testing negative, the arriving travellers should be permitted to leave the airport/ port of entry. Those who test positive, should be compulsorily placed under institutional isolation in hospital for 10 days and the positive samples should be genome sequenced,” stated another circular.

Screening teams at bus stops, railway stations

In wake of the State Government deciding to screen people coming from Kerala and Maharashtra, the BBMP on Saturday said it would deploy screening teams at bus stops and railways stations. Screening points will be set up on the city outskirts too.

Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta said on an average 160 COVID-19 positive cases were reported from the city daily, however on Friday a total of 224 cases were reported. A majority of them in the Anekal area. Officials have been asked to keep a vigil on 63 containment zones in the city.

Instructions have been given to intensify vaccination drives. In the city, a total of 1.38 crore doses of vaccine has been given.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 2:40:18 PM |

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