Chandigarh’s Covid-19 positivity rate higher than that of neighbouring states
Chandigarh: Out of every 100 persons tested for Covid-19 in Chandigarh in the last few months, six were found positive, a number way higher than the national average of four positive cases out of 100 persons tested, data analysed by Hindustan Times reveals.
The neighbouring states too seem to have fared better than Chandigarh with less than three out of every 100 tests confirming positive in Punjab and one each in Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.
After the first Covid-19 cases were reported and till May 28, Punjab tested 78,014 persons, of which 2,158 tested positive ( 2.7% positivity rate); and Haryana conducted 1,08,031 tests with 1,504 testing positive (1.3% positivity rate). Of the 32,449 tests Himachal Pradesh conducted, 281 tested positive, accounting for 0.88% positivity rate.
‘High-risk population means higher positivity rates’
Meanwhile Chandigarh conducted 4,467 tests till May, out of which 288 were positive, which translated to a positivity rate of 6.4%. Similarly, in April, with 843 people tested and 56 persons infected, the positivity rate was 6.6% . However, May 11 had a major spike when 181 out of 2,177 tested positive (8.3%), after which the numbers decreased, suggesting that a high risk population could have been tested, including contacts of positive persons.
On the high positivity rates, Dr Sonu Goel, community health expert at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) , said the numbers depended on how many people were tested and from where. “If screened from a high risk population and very less from low risk, then it is bound to be high,” he added.
Positivity rate touched 10% to 12% in Covid-19 hotspot
“In the most affected part of the city, Bapu Dham colony, the test positivity rate touches around 10% to 12%. This means a high risk group is being tested, which leads to overall hike in the test positivity rate. In Haryana and other states testing might not be concentrated in specific groups. It may also suggest how much the virus has spread in the specific community or area as well,” said a senior epidemiologist at PGIMER who did not wish to be named.
The Chandigarh health department, which earlier had drawn flak for low testing numbers has attributed the high positivity rate to a focused testing policy according to Central government guidelines.
“Ideally, no category of persons should be excluded from testing and no one should be included in the testing protocol framed by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). However, some states are doing testing for domestic airline arrivals as well as asymptomatic persons, which is not advised by ICMR so far,” UT health secretary Arun Kumar Gupta said.
Similarly testing has been extended to other categories of people (in other states). “So, if any state extends the protocol beyond Central government guidelines, the positivity or confirmation rate is likely to be low,” he added.