The Covid-19 positivity rate in Odisha has come down since August 1 after the state ramped up its testing capacity. As on Wednesday, the state tested 32,053 samples — the highest so far. The state had tested 14,135 samples on August 1.
The positivity rate in the state, which was 9.8 per cent on August 1 and 11 per cent on August 7, came down to 5.8 per cent on August 11 and 12. On Wednesday, the state reported 1,876 cases, the highest single-day spike so far, taking the case count to 50,672.
Positivity rate is the percentage of samples testing positive out of those tested and is an indicator of the spread of infection.
“Odisha health department is planning to conduct 50,000 antigen tests daily. The state aims to increase the testing capacity to 1 lakh and a decision in this regard will be taken soon,” said Dr Sanghamitra Pati, Director, Regional Medical Research Centre.
Dr Ajay Parida, Director of Institute of Life Sciences which is studying the Covid trend in the state, maintained that higher testing will help identify and isolate Covid cases and contain the spread of the virus. “At present the emphasis is on rapid antigen tests which have an advantage of screening a large number of people. If symptomatic patients test negative in antigen tests, then an RT PCR test will be conducted.”
As of July 1, 2,70,678 tests had been conducted. By the end of July, 5,28,708 tests were conducted. In the 12 days of August so far, 1,95,646 tests have been conducted.
The state currently has 55 centres where tests are being carried out. Senior Medical Professional with MKCG Medical College Dr Sunil Agrawal said, “Recent trends show that the positivity rate has decreased. New centres have come up for testing and people are voluntarily walking in to get themselves tested. It is premature to say if the curve is flattening, but if the rate continues, the graph will definitely flatten in the coming days.”
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Wednesday held a review meeting and emphasised on increasing testing numbers and sensitising citizens. “To take our fight against Covid-19 to the next level, we have decided to substantially enhance testing during the coming weeks… BDOs and PRIs should play an active role in motivating people to voluntarily come forward for testing and further launch a campaign at local levels to destigmatise the Covid-19 positive persons,” a release from the CMO stated.