IT WAS after a severe and continued spike of the novel coronavirus cases across the district that the administration decided to increase its testing centres.
The district, taking a lead in the Tricity, already had as many as nine functioning testing units spread throughout. Further enhancing its testing methods to motivate people to come forward on their own and get tested, the authorities added as many as 10 more.
Taking a lead over its counterparts in the Tricity, Mohali and Chandigarh, Panchkula has tested 6,464 people per lakh of its population which stands at 6 lakh.
Panchkula has tested an approximate 39,000 people so far.
Further simplifying testing, Panchkula also became the first in the Tricity to allow walk-in tests for its citizens. As per this strategy, any person with or without symptoms or other reasons can walk in and get them tested.
This strategy, say health officials, will help in identifying cases that may be asymptomatic. The presence of testing centres nearby will also help the elderly and other vulnerable groups in getting themselves tested.
“This has been done in a bid to increase testing throughout the district, reduce rush at current specified places and encourage vulnerable groups and common residents to come forward for testing,” Deputy Civil Surgeon, Dr Saroj Aggarwal, had told The Indian Express when the project was launched in the last week of August.
While initially the department collected samples for RT-PCRs at these centres which remain operational for two hours each day between 10 am and 12 pm, the department has now moved on to conduct antigen tests on these samples.
“While we conduct RT-PCR tests from samples collected at civil hospital, we have moved on to conduct antigen tests as they are time-saving and give results quicker,” Dr Aggarwal said.
The authorities, in a bid to further increase testing, also invited private players to enter Panchkula and test those who do not wish to stand in lines or wait their turn and can shell out Rs 2,400 for a test. Two such private testing centres are now functional in Panchkula at Sector 7 community centre and at a booth in MDC-5.
While the private lab situated in Sector 7 only collects samples at the spot from 9 am to 5 pm, the one in MDC-5 also collects home samples in the district.
As many as three mobile testing centres, set up in public buses, also remain functional in the district. They collect samples from places where high caseloads have been found for dynamic and comprehensive testing to be conducted in the area.
The district is conducting surveillance testing, wherein vulnerable groups of people are being tested at random.
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