Other States

Coronavirus | ICMR-NICED says it is getting lesser samples than its capacity to test

A person gets tested for COVID-19. File   | Photo Credit: Reuters

National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED), the primary testing facility in West Bengal, is getting far less samples of COVID-19 to test than it was getting in the initial days of the outbreak, the institute's director said.

"During the first few days we got 90-100 samples to test. In the last week the number of samples dropped to 20. On Sunday, we got about 68 samples to test," NICED Director Shanta Dutta told The Hindu.

The decision to send the number of samples to a particular laboratory is taken by the State government and NICED officials said they cannot tell why they are getting lesser samples. Dr Dutta also informed that there is no shortage of testing kits.

"The number of kits keeps changing. We have 27,000 testing kits so far. You can say that we are the store house of testing kits in the eastern region. The ICMR regularly keeps updating the numbers," she added. The number of kits received by NICED so far is 42,500.

The remarks of NICED officials comes in the background of the State government blaming the shortage of kits for less testing in West Bengal. On April 11, State's Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was asked by journalists about less number of COVID-19 tests done by the State government when compared to other States. Ms. Banerjee said that the State has been following the guidelines of ICMR and testing only those with symptoms of the viral infections.

“We had only two labs and 40 testing kits,” she had told journalists at the State secretariat. The Chief Minister on April 11 said that the State has urged Centre for rapid testing kits and assured that more tests will be conducted in the next few days.

According to the State's Health Bulletin released on April 13, the number of persons tested for COVID-19 in the State stands at 2793. The number of tests done till April 12 as per the State bulletin was 2523 and till April 11 was 2286. Thus 507 samples, which is about 18% of all COVID-19 samples tested in the State have been carried out in the past two days. The number of testing centres in the State has increased to seven, which includes five government facilities and two private. NICED has given about 7500 testing kits to West Bengal government.

Active cases in West Bengal

Fifteen "active cases" were recorded in West Bengal in the past 24 hours, taking the number of active cases in the State to 110. Instead of giving the total number of infections in the State the State health department has been giving active cases in the State which excludes those who have recovered from the viral infection or have expired. The number of 15 active infections in a day is the highest in the State so far. 270 samples were tested in the past 24 hours which is also one of the highest in the State so far.

The number of persons who have died remains at seven. Meanwhile, the State said in a notification late on Sunday. The West Bengal government has made masks mandatory at public places.

Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Mar 2, 2021 10:46:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/coronavirus-niced-says-it-is-getting-lesser-samples-than-its-capacity-to-test/article31334990.ece

Next Story