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Decline in Covid cases leads to shortfall in testing

Ghaziabad: Amid the sharp decline in Covid-19 cases in the past three weeks, the district has fallen short of its testing target by almost 26% this month so far
PUBLISHED ON JUN 19, 2021 10:53 PM IST

Ghaziabad: Amid the sharp decline in Covid-19 cases in the past three weeks, the district has fallen short of its testing target by almost 26% this month so far. District health department officials said that the decline in testing numbers is due to lesser footfall at the testing centres and fewer new cases.

According to official figures, the health department had conducted 154,886 tests in April, which is 95.6% of the month’s target of 162,000. Similarly, it conducted 205,112 (97%) tests in May against the target of 211,400. However, in the first 18 days of June, only 108,868 people (74.2%) have tested, while the target for the period was 146700 tests. The overall target for June is 244,500 tests.

“The testing numbers have reduced as the footfall has decreased at our centres and also due to the fact that new cases have considerably declined. In April and May, we were testing 25-30 contacts per positive case. But this month, the cases have declined which has led to fewer contacts being traced and tested. At present, we do not have any shortage of testing kits,” said Dr NK Gupta, chief medical officer.

The district since May 16 is assigned a target of conducting 2,900 tests per day through RT-PCR method and 5,250 daily tests with the help of rapid antigen kits. Before that, the daily target was 1,700 RT-PCR and 3,700 rapid antigen tests, the officials said.

In the second wave of the pandemic in Ghaziabad, the cases started to spike during mid of April and the sample positivity rate stood at 2.8% on April 15. The rate peaked to 19.3% on May 6 and thereafter started to show a declining trend. The sample positivity on June 18 was 0.33%, as per the official figures.

Notably, the district recorded 12,859 positive cases in April and 14,132 in May, but the number drastically reduced to just 337 in first 18 days of June, as per the state’s health bulletin.

The reduced footfall is also witnessed at the Sanjay Nagar Combined District Hospital. “During April and May, there were a number of people coming in with respiratory issues, fever, and indications of influenza-like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory illness (SARI). We used to get such cases tested and admitted those who tested positive. Now, the footfall of such people has considerably reduced,” said Dr Sanjay Teotia, chief medical superintendent of the hospital.

The staff at the Ramlila Ground testing centre at Ghanta Ghar said that people were not coming out to get tested. “In May, when cases were rising, there were long queues. We used to conduct 500-600 tests per day then. Now, we hardly conduct 50 tests in a day. It is expected that cases of ILI/SARI will emerge during the monsoon season. So, the footfall may increase,” said Narsingh Kumar, a lab technician at the testing centre.

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