Mysuru struggles to increase collection of swab samples amid pressure to bring down TPR

The district administration and health officials in Mysuru are struggling to increase collection of swab samples for COVID-19 tests amid pressure from the business and services sector to ease the lockdown restrictions that were continued in the district due to its high Test Positivity Rate (TPR).

The district administration, which was carrying out 3,500-4,000 tests every day during May, revised it to 7,000 in the first week of June before further revising it to 9,700 at present, but the health officials were struggling to gather the necessary number of swab samples to meet the daily target of tests.

The strategy is to bring down the TPR, which was more than 12.11 per cent in Mysuru last week, which prompted the State government to continue the lockdown curbs in the district. “It is basic arithmetic to increase the denominator to bring down the TPR. That is the strategy”, an official said.

But, putting paid to the efforts is the reluctance of people to come forward for testing. “More than 100 persons including people with symptoms, their family members and other primary contacts used to queue up for tests every day last month. Now, the numbers have dwindled to less than 45 every day”, said Zaheer Ul Haq, who looks after the Quba COVID-19 Help Centre’s Testing Centre at Rajiv Nagar in Mysuru.

Chidambara, nodal officer for COVID-19 testing and training in Mysuru, said“Though we have the capacity to collect more than 10,000 swabs and test them at the government and private laboratories every day, the constraint is that people are not coming for testing.”

The health officials are now considering screening people coming for vaccination. “We have asked personnel at the vaccination sites to collect swab samples of people coming for vaccination as part of the pre-vaccination screening. It will, however, be voluntary”, he said before clarifying that vaccine will be administered if people are found healthy and show no symptoms as per the routine even if their swab sample is collected.

While persons with symptoms will be subjected to a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT), others can undergo a RT-PCR test.

The targeted testing of people with symptoms, Influenza-Like Illness (ILI), their primary contacts and secondary contacts is continuing across the district as usual at PHCs and other testing centres, besides the mobile teams, which visit different areas for swab collection, said Dr. Chidambara. Random sampling is also continuing at industries, factories and other sites, he added.

Meanwhile, health officials monitoring the COVID-19 situation in Mysuru do not foresee a sudden and substantial drop in the number of daily infections, which has been hovering around 500 to 600, even if the number of daily tests is increased.

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Printable version | Jul 27, 2021 1:31:38 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/mysuru-struggles-to-increase-collection-of-swab-samples-amid-pressure-to-bring-down-tpr/article34936392.ece

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