Following reports that private laboratories in some districts of the state were reporting higher numbers of positive Covid-19 cases compared to the government setup, the Uttarakhand government on Saturday ordered the concerned district administrations to carry out random re-testing among cases reported by private labs.
The government’s order came during a meeting regarding measures being taken to combat the pandemic. According to officials, Chief Secretary Om Prakash said at the meeting that complaints had come in from Dehradun of cases where people who tested positive in certain private labs, later tested negative at the government facility. Reports indicated that private labs in the district were showing a positivity rate greater than 50 per cent, he added.
The district administration has been directed to conduct tests randomly among patients who got positive reports from private labs. The chief secretary directed authorities to take stern action if any private lab was found doling out incorrect test reports.
The total number of Covid-19 cases in the state stands at 40,085 and the positivity rate stands at 7 per cent. On Saturday, the state recorded its highest-ever spike in Covid-19 cases as 2,078 new cases were reported.
Of these, the highest number of cases came from Dehradun (668). Haridwar reported 289 cases while Nainital reported 239 new cases.
Out of 668 cases in Dehradun, almost 60 per cent (398 cases) were reported from private labs. In Haridwar, private labs reported 80 per cent of the 239 new cases.
Similarly, on Friday, 204 positive cases in Dehradun were confirmed by private labs while 155 were reported by government labs. In Haridwar, only 40 positive cases were reported by government labs while 66 were reported by private labs. In Udham Singh Nagar, 37 positive cases were reported by government labs and 124 by private labs.
A senior health department official said, “They (district administrations) have been asked to cross check by re-testing a few samples on random basis in government labs if 50-60 per cent samples from any lot have tested positive in a private lab.”
On possible reasons behind the higher positivity rate, the official said, “This may be happening because people in large number are turning up at private labs for RT-PCR test. There is also possibility that staff in private labs was not taking precautions during sample collection and testing or that samples got contaminated and due process was not followed.”
Meanwhile, in the same meeting, the government also decided to hire final year students of nursing colleges to increase the strength in hospitals. These students will be paid as per NHM standards. Districts have been directed also to install CCTV cameras all in Covid Care Centres.
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