Panchkula civil hospital, which started its own lab in May and began testing only 100 people a day, has now grown to test 600 per day. Panchkula also leads in the Tricity, marching ahead of UT and Mohali in testing per lakh population.
The margin of tests being conducted has even crossed protocols established recently by the WHO for testing 140 people per million per day as Panchkula with a population of 5.6 lakh (as per 2011 census) now tests an average of 500 people a day.
That amounts to 69 per cent more testing than the limit prescribed by the WHO. With the increasing number of cases, aggressive testing will help the district immensely, says CMO Dr Jasjeet Kaur.
“Increasing number of tests and detection of positive cases will help in early treatment and prevention of the disease from becoming severe and deadly. It has also helped in identification of hot spots in time which further helps in containing the numbers by being more vigilant in these areas and giving focused attention,” she says.
Before the start of its own lab, Panchkula was sending samples to PGIMER, Chandigarh. In the first week of May, the lab became functional and tested 80 people on the first day. The district gradually acquired technicians and equipment and grew from processing 80 to 200 samples a day. It further increased its capacity to 400 in July and has now become equipped to conduct 600 tests a day.
On August 3, after the lab’s capacity was ramped up, the district took as many as 449 samples. The following day, it took 536. “Strategic testing has been mainstay of our policy for fighting Covid. Aggressive testing in contacts and containment areas is helping in early detection and management of cases,” she says.
The Panchkula lab also receives samples from neighbouring districts of Haryana.
After aggressive testing, the department has started sero surveillance in all hotspots of the city. “Sero surveillance has also been started in such hotspots where regular flow of people from vulnerable areas cannot be checked. Next step will be surveillance for ILI and SARI and vigilance for any symptomatic patients going to private sector,” says Dr Kaur, chalking out the department’s future strategy in view of rising cases in the city.
Panchkula’s testing per lakh population highest in Tricity
Leaving both Chandigarh and Mohali behind by a huge margin, Panchkula with a population of 5.6 lakh is conducting 3,750 tests per lakh population. As of Wednesday, the district had tested more than 21,000 people.
The testing in UT has remained the lowest in the Tricity, even with the highest population. The UT has only taken an approximate 15,200 samples with a population of 10.6 lakh. The amount of tests per lakh population here remains 1,426 tests only which is also the lowest among all the Union Territories and states of the country.
Panchkula is testing more than double the number of people with less than half the population. Even though Mohali has ramped up testing and conducted approximately 26,000 tests so far, it lags behind Panchkula with only 2,600 tests conducted per lakh population. It has a population of 10 lakh.
(Populations taken as per 2011 census)
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