With a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in the State, the COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) has recommended that for every patient, 20 contacts need to be traced in districts where the positivity rate is above 1%.
However, according to data provided by the Karnataka State COVID-19 war room on an average, not a single contact has been identified in 45.3% of the cases reported in the last week. The data also points out that on an average, for every patient in the State over the last week, 4.5 contacts have been traced. For a total of 5,868 patients who tested positive between March 8 and March 14, as many as 12,298 primary contacts and 13,995 secondary contacts were traced.
According to the data, the best contact tracing has been done in Gadag, where for every patient, 50.9% contacts have been traced in the last week. Kodagu and Chamarajnagar are in the second and third spots, with 29.1% and 24.9%. In four districts – Haveri, Koppal, Raichur and Vijayapura, data shows that not even one contact of a patient has been traced.
However, in many of these instances, the local administration may have traced the contacts and isolated them and even sent their samples for testing but may not have updated this on the app. Munish Moudgil, who is in charge of the State War Room, said the data was as per the entry done on the contact tracing app, and added that details have to be entered on the app as manual claims cannot be accepted.
Giridhar R. Babu, member, TAC, said that the health workers were busy with testing and vaccination. “In addition, all other health services have resumed. It would be unreasonable to expect them to do contact tracing at this stage. It is advised that people from other wings of the BBMP get involved in contact tracing. This can be done by decentralised actions at the level of the urban primary health centre and in coordination with the other departments,” he said. He added that persons from other departments need to mobilised if required by the BBMP.