Covid-19 testing rate falls in Uttarakhand even as migrants head home | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Covid-19 testing rate falls in Uttarakhand even as migrants head home

Hindustan Times, Dehrahun | BySuparna Roy | Edited by Sabir Hussain
May 11, 2020 09:51 PM IST

Uttarakhand has so far tested 9,915 samples the government insists that testing is in line with the Centre’s Covid-19 protocol.

There has been a 21% dip in testing to check for Covid-19 in Uttarakahnd in the eighth week (May 3-May 9) compared to the seventh week but the government insists that testing is in line with the Centre’s protocol.

The reduction in testing comes when locals stranded in other states have started returning to Uttarakhand.(ANI)
The reduction in testing comes when locals stranded in other states have started returning to Uttarakhand.(ANI)

Data shows that the week from April 26-May 2, the government conducted a total of 2,374 tests. This was the seventh week since the first case of Covid-19 was reported in the state from Dehradun on March 15.

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In the eighth week, from May 3-May 9, only 1,881 samples were tested with a reduction of 493 samples or 21%.

This reduction in testing comes when locals stranded in other states have started returning to Uttarakhand amid lockdown 3.0.

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Dr. SK Gupta, director (in-charge) of medical and health department Uttarakhand said that testing is being done following all guidelines of the central government.

“We are conducting tests based on the guidelines given to us. The guidelines state that contact persons of positive patients, those who are highly exposed to positive patients and symptomatic patients, or those with severe acute respiratory diseases are being tested,” said Dr. Gupta.

When questioned whether the state government is planning to increase testing given the influx of migrants from different states, Dr. Gupta said, “Wherever we feel a person is suspected or has minor symptoms, s/he is being tested in the state. We have not received any updates from the state government yet on random sampling at a large scale.”

Uttarakhand has so far tested 9,915 samples with maximum tests being conducted in Dehradun, Haridwar, Nainital and Udham Singh Nagar districts. Of this figure, 9,229 samples have been tested at government test centres and 686 samples tested at private labs.

Only 691 samples have been tested so far in the state from remote and hilly districts of Uttarakhand. These districts include Almora with 116 tests, Bageshwar with 25 tests, Chamoli with 33 tests, Champawat 61 tests, Pauri Garhwal 106 tests, Pithoragarh 28 tests, Rudraprayag and Tehri Garhwal have tested 41 samples each and Uttarkashi district has tested 240 samples till now since March 15.

Experts have raised an alarm and pointed out that with more people returning to the state, sampling should be increased to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

Anoop Nautiyal, founder of Social Development for Communities, a Dehradun-based think tank, who has been analysing Covid-19 data in the state, said that apart from government’s efforts, responsible community participation is equally important.

“People need to strictly participate and follow instructions along with the government’s efforts to control the spread of the disease. The role of a responsible citizen is very important here. Along with this, increasing the sampling size by the state government is also needed.”

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