Chandigarh Covid-19 positivity rate highest in tricity, Mohali, P’kula carry out more tests
Even though Chandigarh has the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the tricity, its testing fewer people than those in Mohali and Panchkula districts, because of which its test positivity rate is the highest in the tricity.
Positivity rates are determined by dividing the number of tests conducted by the number of cases testing positive.
Chandigarh, with a Covid-19 count of 381, has conducted 6,438 tests so far with a test positivity rate of 6%. This percentage is much higher than that of Mohali (1.9%) where 10,467 individuals have been tested and 208 found infected.
Panchkula follows Mohali with 7,615 tests, of which 124 have tested positive but only 79 are from the district and the positivity rate is 1%.
Defending their numbers, health authorities in Chandigarh claim their screening processes are very effective and have helped them successfully detect and sample suspected cases.
On the high positivity rates, Dr KK Talwar, former director, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), says one of the reasons for the higher numbers could be testing of high-risk persons and contacts in cluster areas, especially during the outbreak at Bapu Dham Colony.
Intensive screening in high-risk areas
“A number of reasons could be involved, including concentrated testing. So as you test more high-risk people the test positivity rate is bound to increase,” he added.
Indranil Banerjee, an expert in infectious diseases caused by emerging human pathogenic viruses at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Mohali, said the numbers indicated that more infections had come to the fore in Chandigarh as cluster areas emerged. “So when you test more people in those areas the positivity rate will increase. But, these numbers are volatile and can go up if a hotspot emerges and the number of infected people grows.”
A community health expert at PGIMER, wishing to remain anonymous, suggested that as asymptomatic people at Bapu Dham Colony, were not currently being tested, the test positivity rates could come down.
‘Rates could come down soon’
“Chandigarh has been following Central government guidelines religiously which do not include testing of asymptomatic patients with no contacts. At the same time, we have a larger population in slums, which have been the hotbed of infection. Also, Chandigarh is a major transit point. Larger population movement leads to greater transmission,” he added.
Mohali civil surgeon Dr Manjit Singh, said that right from day one the focus was on testing as many persons as possible who fit in the criteria.
“I had given orders for testing people even with the slightest of the symptoms, which actually helps in isolating the infected persons and thus spread the infection. Contacts are aggressively traced and mandatorily tested. This has kept our infection spread low and the recent spike is due to the movement of people from hotspots outside the state,” he added.
When questioned about the high positivity rate, the UT director, health services, Dr G Dewan, said, “ I can put it this way that our strategy is very good wherein we are able to detect the suspects during screening and only they are taken up for sampling. Their turning out positive only corroborates the fact that our screening is good.”