Gurugram hits 6k tests per day, positivity rate downUpdated: Nov 19, 2020, 23:33 IST
The district on Thursday, setting a record for the number of tests in a day, tested 6,036 samples for the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). Of these, about 25%, or 1,475 samples, were tested using rapid antigen tests while the remaining 4,561 samples were tested using the Real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method. This development marks a nearly 40% increase in daily tests from the previous record — of 4,300 tests — logged just a day prior.
On Thursday, Gurugram reported 645 new infections, taking the total number of cases in the district to 41,825.
Officials in the health department attributed Thursday’s spurt in testing to fresh supplies of antigen kits, use of which had slowed down, to between 300 and 400 tests per day, earlier this month due to supply issues. “We are expecting to continue conducting about 6,000 daily tests in the district, with an increase in rapid antigen kits in coming days, since the availability issue has been resolved,” said Dr Virender Yadav, chief medical officer, Gurugram.
Yadav added that this boost in testing would suffice in bringing down the district’s test-positivity rate, which has hovered between 15% to 18% over the past two weeks.
This was indeed the case on Thursday. With just 645 samples of 6,036 testing positive for the virus, as against 659 positives out of 4,324 samples on Wednesday, the daily district’s daily test-positivity rate dropped from 15% to 10% in a single day. Officials said this is a positive sign.
“We are hoping to see this same trend in the next few days. If the positivity rate doesn’t start climbing again, we can expect the number of daily new cases to start coming down soon. This will also depend on how soon colder temperatures set in, which may cause cases to spike. It’s still too early to say if we are past a third peak,” said Dr Jai Prakash Sharma, the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme’s district surveillance officer, Gurugram.
The health department on Thursday also said that it may seek assistance from private laboratories in the district to help boost testing for Covid-19, as the outbreak progresses into the winter. Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with three private labs in the district, signed soon after the epidemic hit Gurugram earlier this year, remain valid, with the health department likely to leverage their infrastructure in coming weeks, officials said.
The three laboratories with which MoUs have been signed are located in Udyog Vihar, Sector 18 and Sector 34.
“In all, these labs can each test at least 3,000 samples per day, and MoUs with them have already been signed months ago. The labs presently are not testing anywhere near their full capacity, so the available resources are on standby for us, when we need it. The department has sent samples to these labs earlier, when its daily capacity had been exhausted. If things worsen in a few weeks, we will not face any resource constraint,” said Yadav.
As of Thursday, the total tally of positive cases in the district stands at 41,825. Of these 5,543 are active patients. While 426 active cases are hospitalised, 5,110 are under home isolation and seven are under observation at district Covid care centres. Gurugram also recorded three Covid-19 related deaths on Thursday, taking the total toll to 253.