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Monday, December 06, 2021

‘Our testing numbers, contact tracing remain high’

With the festive season at its peak, through testing and enhanced contact tracing the UT officials strive to check the spread of Covid-19 infection and break the link of the virus in Chandigarh

Written by Parul | Chandigarh |
November 3, 2021 10:09:47 am
The Health Department, UT Chandigarh issued an advisory today regarding home-based Covid testing kits. (File)

The total number of active Covid-19 cases in Chandigarh is 34, with the positivity rate in the last seven days being 0.27, and the average number of new positive cases in the last week being four. While there has been no surge in new cases in the last one month, the number of tests conducted daily have not declined, and 1,500 to 2,000 tests are being done on an average by the by with around 7 mobile testing teams of the Health Department in areas like the Sector 26 sabzi mandi, ISBT, Chandigarh Railway Station, etc.

“While we are happy that the number of cases is low, the idea of keeping the testing numbers high is to make sure that the hidden cases come out. Even if there are three to four cases, we must realise that there is a prevalence of infection, and there is still infection in the community. We have to check the spread of infection and break the link through enhanced contact tracing, testing immediate family members and close contacts, and tracing around 10 people. We are also tracing for asymptomatic carriers,” said Dr VK Nagpal, Medical Superintendent, GMSH 16 and Joint Director, Health.

The positive effects of vaccination, he said, can be seen with a low death rate and less severity of cases, which was expected. “We are keeping our fingers crossed, and it is after November 20 that we will know if there is a surge in cases. These days, around 2,300 people are visiting GMSH-16 daily, and those coming to the OPD for the first time, are encouraged and motivated to take the Rapid Antigen test. It is compulsory for those who have to be admitted or undergo surgery to take the RT-PCR test. Our advice to people is to observe Covid-19 appropriate behaviour, take precautions, and get tested in case of any symptoms,” adds Dr. Nagpal. Dr. Jasbinder Kaur, Director Principal, GMCH-32 and Head of the Department of Biochemistry said that the hospital continues to test around 1500 samples daily.

The Covid-19 testing laboratory at PGI is working 24×7, despite the low number of cases in the city. According to Prof. Mini P Singh from the Department of Virology, there has been no change in testing numbers, with the staff at the lab testing 1700-1800 samples daily, creating excel sheets to keep records, and sending them to the ICMR portal.

“The positivity is less, but we decided to keep working the same way and keep the systems intact, not dismantling the lab, with all SOPs in place. As far as genome testing is concerned, we have ordered some more equipment for the purpose,” says Prof. Singh.

Advisory on home-based Covid testing kits

The Health Department, UT Chandigarh issued an advisory today regarding home-based Covid testing kits. The Department highlighted that the kits are being used for Covid testing, but the information about positive cases is not being brought to the notice of health authorities. The advisory further states that under Epidemic Disease Act, every Covid-19 positive case has to be notified to the authorities for public health action. Accordingly, details about the positive cases tested by home-based Covid testing kits by residents must be conveyed immediately to Covid Helpline number 9779558282 and any violation of these instructions would invite appropriate action under the relevant Act/Rules/Instructions.

Further, in view of the daily increase of COVID cases in UT and the ongoing festive season, the Health Department has advised residents to strictly comply with COVID-19 norms, as prescribed by the Government of India.

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