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Sunday, June 07, 2020

UT using only over 12% of its testing facilities

Meanwhile, the number of Covid-19 patients in the city continue to increase, especially in the Covid-19 hotspot Bapu Dham Colony, which reported 12 cases Thursday.

Written by Chahat Rana | Chandigarh | Published: May 22, 2020 3:57:15 pm
UT using only over 12% of its testing facilities At PGI, 200 tests can be conducted in a day, which can be increased to 450 if pool testing is incorporated. EXPRESS PHOTO BY PRAVEEN KHANNA 23 04 2020. (Representational image)

Eventhough the average number of Covid-19 tests conducted in Chandigarh has increased to almost 125 a day, as per the number of tests conducted in the past week, the Union territory is still using only a little more than 12 per cent of total testing facilities at their disposal.

Meanwhile, the number of Covid-19 patients in the city continue to increase, especially in the Covid-19 hotspot Bapu Dham Colony, which reported 12 cases Thursday.

If the available testing facilities and laboratories are used to their maximum capacity, at least 970 tests can be conducted in day. This estimate excludes private testing, which has also begun in the UT through SRL Diagnostic. At PGI, 200 tests can be conducted in a day, which can be increased to 450 if pool testing is incorporated.

AT GMCH-32, at least 50 samples can be tested a day and at Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH), between 500 to 700 tests can be conducted in a single day. Furthermore, Punjab University and the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research which have been identified by the Department of Biotechnology as potential testing laboratories in Chandigarh, can also conduct a hundred tests each a day.

When asked about increasing the number of tests conducted in Chandigarh, representatives of the Health department said that testing is conducted strictly in accordance with the Government of India guidelines.

According to the guidelines, random sampling is not mandated and nor is it mandatory to sample the asymptomatic contacts of a positive patient. “With the chain of contacts testing positive everyday from Bapu Dham Colony, and to ensure surveillance of cases in the city, we need to test more aggressively and not be limited to the central government guidelines,” says an epidemiologist.

The neighboring cities of Mohali and Panchkula, both of which have much fewer active cases, have conducted testing and surveillance more aggressive, besides incorporating random sampling as well. In Panchkula, at least two patients were diagnosed with Covid-19 recently through random sampling.

Furthermore, with only half the population of Chandigarh, Panchkula has conducted almost 4,000 tests already, while 3,369 tests have been conducted in Chandigarh as of Thursday evening.

Pool testing limited

AT GMCH-32, which has a capacity of testing at least 70 samples a day, around 40 to 50 tests have been conducted on an average in the past few days. A source at the hospital claims that pool testing is conducted, but infrequently. “It is rarely conducted these days,” he says.

At IMTECH, where samples are collected from Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, 3,441 tests have been conducted as of Thursday night. The institute conducts nearly a hundred tests in a day, while it can ramp up its testing to 700 a day by pooling
samples.

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