Focused testing for Covid-19 reveals low positivity in Ghaziabad
Ghaziabad: Focused testing to detect the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) disease in the Ghaziabad district reveals that the positivity is about 0.23% (45 positive cases from a total of 19,615) in the samples taken from March 13 to 23. Officials said that the spread of virus is limited to some pockets of the district and that the severity of the disease is low at present, with most cases turning out to be asymptomatic.
The drive, initiated on orders of the Uttar Pradesh government, will go up to March 27 during which samples will be taken up for random testing covering high case load areas, construction sites, street vendors, schools and colleges, domestic travellers, pan and cigarette shops, bus stands, sweets shops, liquor shops, malls, markets and also at shops selling Holi-related items, among others.
Official records of the health department indicate that 7,187 RT-PCR tests resulted in 41 of the positive cases while 12,428 rapid antigen tests yielded only four positive cases during the drive up to March 23.
“Focused testing is taken up randomly for different groups in order to assess the spread of the disease. The positivity right now is low, like it was during a similar testing taken up before and after Diwali festival last year. There has been a minor rise in the number of cases recently as compared to last month and this could also be due to people commuting to nearby states,” said Dr NK Gupta, chief medical officer, Ghaziabad.
District magistrate Ajay Shankar Pandey did not respond to repeated calls for his response.
During the pre-Diwali focused testing, the health department, from October 29 to November 12 last year, had conducted 20,852 tests which resulted in 139 positive cases ( about0.65%). Back then, auto-drivers, beauticians and staff of malls, sweet shops, etc, were tested.
Likewise, about 21,801 overall tests were conducted post-Diwali, from November 19 to November 30 last year, and these resulted in 257 positive cases (about 1%). The groups tested during the period included observation homes, urban slums and jails among others.
“To check the spread of the virus, we have also expedited contact tracing and working on strategies for tracing, testing and treatment. During the last 14 days (March 10 to March 23) we have identified an average of about 27 contacts per patient. A majority of positive cases are asymptomatic,” said an officer from the district health department, requesting anonymity.
The experts said that all precautions and Covid-19 protocols must be observed and more so during the upcoming festival of Holi.
“It is time that contact tracing is taken up on priority and 30 contacts or more should be traced for a positive patient. This will be of great help in controlling Covid-19. The disease in patients at present is not so severe and patients are either asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic,” said Dr VB Jindal, former president of Indian Medical Association – Ghaziabad.
The official records indicate that from March 1 last year to March 23 this year, the district recorded a total of 27,073 positive cases and the health department completed contact tracing of 26,983 (about 99.66%) of positive cases.
The figures reveal that a total of 499,984 contacts of the 26,983 positive cases were identified at an average of about 18.52 contacts per patient.
The UP chief secretary in his recent directions on March 23 had asked to trace 25-30 contacts per positive case within 48 hours and to get them tested at the earliest.