Noting that highly infectious COVID-19 is still confined to clusters and yet to reach the level of community transmission in the state, Odisha government Friday said it was planning a massive rapid corona test for about 2 lakh people in order to give relief to the people in quarantine as well as the administration.
It has become a difficult task to put about one lakh people in-home quarantine after they to returned Odisha from highly infected states and countries, said Director of Medical Education and Training (DMET), Prof CBK Mohanty.
Addressing the state Government’s daily briefing on COVID, Mohanty stressed on the social distress being created due to long quarantine as well as the month-long lockdown period. “Even reports have been received about people attempting suicide due to home quarantine,” he said adding a rapid corona test will relax a large number of people as well as the administration which has been keeping a tab on all the people in quarantine.
While justifying that the rapid corona test is need of the hour, Mohanty said though about one lakh people have already come to their native places from different parts of the country after the outbreak of COVID-19, more people are expected to return when the lockdown ends with the operation of train and flight service.
Mohanty said: “The approval of antibody-based rapid testing of coronavirus by Centre will be a blessing for Odisha. Since the current confirmatory real-time PCR (polymerase chain reaction) is time-consuming, the rapid test will come handy in eliminating nearly 98 percent of tests that test negative in RTPCR (Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction),” Prof Mohanty said.
Allaying fear of community spread of the disease so far in the state, particularly Bhubaneswar, where 38 people have so far tested positive to COVID-19, Mohanty said the existing data does not support community transmission.
In the face of criticism for not conducting more corona tests in the state, government spokesperson Subroto Bagchi said: “In India, 1,44,910 samples have been tested till now of which 6,412 (4.42 percent) have tested positive. On the other hand, Odisha by April 9 had tested 3249 samples of which 48 (1.47 percent) were found COVID positive.
Bihar which reported its first positive COVID-19 case nearly a week after here has conducted about 1.75 times more tests than Odisha. Bagchi said the test ratio will certainly increase after functioning of state-of-the-art COBAS 6800 system at Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC) here.
This apart, requisition of nearly 1 lakh rapid test kits soon will also enhance the state’s COVID-19 testing capacity, he said.
What has in fact worried the administration is that 80 percent novel coronavirus positives cases in Odisha are asymptomatic.
RMRC Bhubaneswar Director Sanghamitra Pati said: “We are the second such institute in the country and first in eastern India to put in place the advanced COBAS 6800 system, an automated state-of-the-art COVID-19 testing system manufactured by Roche Diagnostics”.While the state’s existing testing capacity is 475 per day, it will soon be about 1400 after RMRC starts its new testing machine, she said.
Meanwhile, the state government said, up to 9 AM of Friday, 3249 samples have been tested of which 48 are positive. Two persons have already been cured and discharged from Hospital. “Two of the 45 active cases are in ventilator,” Bagchi said adding one person has so far died of COVID-19 while 113 people are under Hospital Isolation in different hospitals.
In regard to enforcement of the lockdown, Bagchi said that from April 9 morning to April 10 morning, 213 cases have been registered by the Police for violations of different regulations and guidelines related to COVID-19 of which 205 cases for violation of lockdown, 3 cases for rumor-mongering and 5 for other issues.So far 63 cases have been registered in the state for rumor-mongering.