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Explained: Haryana’s door-to-door Covid screening programme and its findings

On May 15, the Haryana government launched a door-to-door Covid screening programme in rural areas. What are its findings of this, and what does it mean for the state’s overall Covid-19 scenario?

Written by Varinder Bhatia , Edited by Explained Desk | Chandigarh |
June 4, 2021 1:01:48 pm
A health worker takes a sample for Covid-19 testing. (Express Photo: Kamleshwar Singh, File)

On May 15, the Haryana government had launched a door-to-door Covid screening programme in rural areas across the state. Till June 3, over 1.66 crore persons have been screened, which is roughly around 60 per cent of the state’s 2.91 crore population. Besides this, over 91.77 lakh samples have been taken in Haryana using RTPCR tests, till date.

The Indian Express explains what it means for state’s overall Covid-19 scenario, the Covid-positivity rate and the health infrastructure that is available and required in Haryana to curtail/combat Covid-19.

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What are the findings of this door-to-door screening?

Till June 3, approximately 8,000 teams comprising healthcare staff, urban local bodies department, volunteers and state police force have screened 1,66,34,253 persons living in over 33 lakh households in 6,910 villages. A total of over 1,19,813 persons were tested for Covid-19, out of which 3,454 persons tested positive (2.88 per cent). Over the last few days, the daily Covid-19 positivity rate in the rural areas is hovering around 0.58-0.60 per cent. A maximum of 5.75 per cent Covid-19 positivity rate has been reported in Rohtak, followed by Hisar (5.36 per cent), Fatehabad (5.22 per cent) and Kurukshetra (4.99 per cent). However, the rural areas in Gurgaon and Faridabad have reported significantly lower positivity rate with 0.76 per cent and 0.69 per cent, respectively.

The screening of entire rural population in at least 11 out of 22 districts of Haryana, including Ambala, Bhiwani, Faridabad, Fatehabad, Jhajjar, Kurukshetra, Mahendragarh, Palwal, Rewari, Rohtak and Yamunanagar, have been completed.

What does this screening mean for the state’s overall Covid-19 scenario?

In May, the transmission rate of Covid-19 was found rapidly increasing in rural areas of the state. A survey conducted by the state’s health department on the Covid patients admitted in various hospitals revealed that 68 per cent were from urban areas while 32 per cent patients were from rural areas. Considering the lack of awareness about Covid-19 appropriate behaviour, the door-to-door screening was ordered by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar. With the screening now almost complete, health department officials say it is a sigh of relief that the transmission of the virus, particularly in rural areas, was not that alarming as it was being feared initially. The state’s over 60 per cent population resides in rural areas and with such a large number not infected with the virus is an encouraging sign, according to the state health officials.

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What are the steps taken by the state government to curtail Covid-19 transmission in rural areas?

Besides the door-to-door screening, over 31,299 home isolation kits have so far been distributed across the rural areas. A total of 1,913 Village Isolation Centres were created in the last three weeks to accommodate villagers who are detected with Covid-19 symptoms and need isolation. Be it hiring the beds, or donations from community or purchasing, the state government created 22,122 beds in these VICs besides 21,041 beddings. The beds and beddings are available in at least 1,680 VICs.

Chief Minister Khattar has recently directed all Deputy Commissioners to strengthen the Community Health Care system across the State. “An ambulance should be stationed round the clock at every CHC so that people visiting these CHCs should get timely treatment and if required any critical patient should be immediately referred to the nearest district office. Every ambulance which would be stationed near these CHCs should have a maximum life support system”, he ordered on June 3. Health minister Anil Vij has ordered that all Primary Healthcare Centres should be upgraded and e-upchar scheme should be extended to these PHCs that enables digital dashboard to provide information about treatment related facilities in all the hospitals of the state. He added that health facilities in all hospitals of the state shall be upgraded as per World Health Organization (WHO) standards. “PSA oxygen plants would be installed in hospitals and medical colleges having 30 or more beds so that there is no shortage of oxygen when required. All the beds in these hospitals will be equipped with oxygen, ventilator and other necessary facilities. Along with this, the number of ICU beds will be determined based on the capacity in the hospitals. Apart from this, refresher courses for all doctors, training of paramedical staff and technical staff will also be done”, Vij said.

What is the overall Covid-19 situation in Haryana?

The Covid-19 positivity rate across the state, during the second wave (March 1 till June 3), was recorded at 14.08 per cent. On June 3, Haryana had reported 2.49 per cent daily Covid-19 positivity rate, which too had almost touched 30 per cent last month. The number of active patients that had crossed 1.15 lakh last month has come down to 12,688 patients. In the last over two months, it was the first time when daily new cases came below 1000 as 980 new cases were found while 2889 recovered.

The daily fatalities that had crossed 150 have also come down to 71, on June 3. While the cumulative positivity rate of the State was 8.31 per cent on June 3, the recovery rate that had dipped below 80 per cent has reached 97.21 per cent. Over 58.98 lakh doses of vaccines have been administered across the State, till June 3. The testing per million population in the State has been consistently increasing and reached 362049 on June 3.

How far has the lockdown contributed in bringing down the Covid-19 transmission?

During the second wave, Haryana had imposed a one-week lockdown on May 3. It kept on extending week after week and is continuing till June 7. However, over the last two weeks, as the new cases of infections continued to dip and recoveries kept on increasing, the state government continued to offer relaxations. But, officials of the state health department believe that lockdown did make an impact in bringing down the Covid-19 positivity rate, but unless people strictly follow Covid-19 appropriate behaviour, such a low positivity rate would be difficult to sustain.

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