Amid concerns about procurement of paddy during Covid-19 peak in Punjab, the state health department’s random testing in mandis in Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s Patiala home district for past two days has revealed zero positivity.
Under the health department’s drive to conduct Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) randomly among the farmers, arhtiyas and mandi workers, Patiala started testing on Tuesday. “Of the 80 samples taken on Tuesday and Wednesday, none of the sample has tested positive. This is heartening news. We hope the trend continues,” said Dr Harish Malhotra, Civil Surgeon, Patiala.
The state government had been fearing that about 16 lakh farmers in the state would be gathering in the mandis across the state to sell their paddy produce. As the state appears to have witnessed its peak in the past fortnight, the government was concerned that with so many people gathering in mandis, the Covid-19 cases may not witness an exponential rise.
The district will conduct more number of tests in the mandis. “We have set up 56 teams across all the mandis in the district and take samples randomly. More tests would be conducted in the coming days as the procurement picks up,” added Dr Malhotra.
This is comparable to the high incidence of occupational incidence in the state with employees in different establishments testing positive. He added that the positivity rate in the district has been on the decline now for past two days with Monday reporting 75 new cases and Tuesday reporting 71 new cases.
Earlier, the positivity rate in the district was 5 per cent that has come down from 12-14 per cent previously.
Patiala tops the state for conducting maximum tests at 2,000 everyday and having a testing capacity of 74,000 per million with a population of 20 lakh. Also, the district has contact tracing rate of 11.9 which is more than state’s average of 7.
As of now, Patiala has 1,310 active cases out of 11,469 testing positive till Tuesday. As many as 9,839 patients have recovered.
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