Bengaluru

COVID-19 tests to soon touch four crore mark in State

Karnataka will soon create another milestone in its pandemic control measures with COVID-19 tests all set to breach the 4 crore mark. The State has been consistently conducting an average of 1.4 lakh tests daily.

With 1,38,532 tests conducted in the last 24 hours, the total number of tests stood at 3,86,49,498 on Saturday. Karnataka is the third State in the country, after Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, that has tested 6.5 crore and 4.8 crore samples, respectively, to have tested the maximum number.

The State had tested a total of over one crore samples from March last year, when the pandemic hit Karnataka, till November 21, 2020. Subsequently, another one crore samples were tested in four months and on March 17, 2021, the total number of tests breached the two crore mark. By June 3, the total tests crossed three crore.

Nearly 83% of the total 3,86,49,498 tests conducted till date have been done using Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) method. RT-PCR is the gold standard test that has negligible chances of false negativity.

First in south

In South India, Karnataka ranks first followed by Tamil Nadu and Kerala. While Tamil Nadu has carried out 3.7 crore tests, Kerala has done 2.7 crore tests. Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have carried out 2.4 crore and 2.2 crore tests respectively.

From an average 80 tests a day in March last year, the State, till January, 2021, tested an average of over one lakh samples a day. Although the daily tests reduced subsequently, they have again been increased in the last one month. Now, since the beginning of July the daily number of tests have remained high, which is a good measure, said experts.

The State’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) had recommended that the State should continue aggressive testing irrespective of the decrease in number of new cases. TAC chairman M.K. Sudarshan told The Hindu on Saturday that although the testing numbers are satisfactory, there should be “focussed, aggressive and syndromic testing and tracking”, especially in the border districts of Kerala and Maharashtra.

“Karnataka has been implementing Test, Track and Treat strategy (3Ts) in alignment with the guidelines issued by Government of India from time to time. In order to effectively contain the virus transmission, testing provides adequate insights into how the virus spreads,” he said.

V. Ravi, nodal officer for genomic confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 in Karnataka and member of State’s COVID-19 TAC, who was entrusted by the ICMR with the task of expansion of COVID-19 labs in April 2020, said it is important for the State to sustain the same level of testing at least till December.

“Testing is one of the important tools to not just prevent the spread of infection but also ensure early intervention in sick patients. We should track and trace at least 20 contacts for every positive case,” he asserted.

‘Silent’ spread

Epidemiologist and public health specialist Sunil Kumar D.R., who heads the department of community medicine at Akash Institute of Medical Sciences, said without aggressive syndromic testing, the disease will spread “silently”. By the time severe cases begin to land in hospitals, it will hard to control the transmission, he said.

“It is also important to get the test results quickly. The potential spread of the infection is high if results are delayed as people are not likely to isolate themselves till the reports come,” added Dr. Sunil, who is part of BBMP’s death audit committee.


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Printable version | Sep 23, 2021 2:54:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/covid-19-tests-to-soon-touch-four-crore-mark-in-state/article35659870.ece

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