As part of its move to check the community spread of Covid-19 in 98 districts in the country, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Saturday started sampling residents in four Punjab districts.
The ICMR has identified clusters and villages in the four districts – Patiala, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Pathankot – reported considerable number of Covid-19 cases.
A team of 13 healthcare and ASHA workers from ICMR, and Rajindra Hospital in Patiala started collecting samples from Rajpura, a red zone in the district.
“We have collected about 400 samples from Rajpura area. We are freezing the samples. These will be sent to NIV Pune with RT-PCR testing,” an expert engaged in the process said.
By Sunday, the team would finish collecting samples from Patiala city and Nabha areas. The team will then go to Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Gurdaspur in the coming days.
He added that the ICMR has its own methodology of collecting samples. “These are serum samples taken from various houses. They have a mathematical formula under which they take samples from the oldest woman in a family, oldest man in the family, youngest child in the family and so on,” the expert said.
“We are sending ASHA workers, in full protective gear, for sampling along with the experts so that they can take them to desired destination,” the expert added.
Those being tested are asked to sign a consent form first, “We are fine if people want to refuse sampling. I am yet to compile the total number of refusals we got today. But generally, people were cooperative,” the expert said.
To ensure protection of the team taking samples, the family members, who are being sampled, are advised to come out of their houses. “This is being doubly sure in case there is a contagion. Still, our team went inside many houses also where the eldest member was not capable of coming out,” said the expert.
The team is yet to give a timeline on the report that would be given by ICMR.
14 new cases take tally to 1,946
Four people from Kapurthala district who had returned from Dubai and landed at Amritsar International Airport were among the 14 new cases of coronavirus reported from Punjab on Saturday, taking the tally to 1946.
Kapurthala Civil Surgeon Dr Jasmeet Kaur Bawa said two of the four who tested positive were asymptomatic, including a pregnant woman.
Dr Bawa also said that among the samples taken, there were persons who were symptomatic, but tested negative for novel coronavirus.
As per the media bulletin released by Punjab government on Saturday, 952 patients were “cured” and discharged on Saturday, taking the total of cured to 1,257, from 305 till Friday.
An official of the Punjab Health and Family Welfare department said that as per the new guidelines from Centre, as many as 950 patients (including 850 pilgrims from Nanded) who had tested positive but were asymptomatic, were discharged and sent home. “They have been asked to isolate themselves at home and report in case symptoms appear in a week. The health department will then take a call,” said the functionary.
As per the Saturday bulletin, there are 657 active cases, results of 2,639 are awaited.
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