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Gurugram’s test positivity rate doubles in one week

By Prayag Arora-Desai, Gurugram
PUBLISHED ON MAY 29, 2020 11:03 PM IST

The district’s Covid-19 test positivity rate (TPR) has almost doubled in the past week, coinciding with 166 new positive cases detected between May 22 and May 28. Officials and experts said that this surge is not necessarily a cause for alarm. Rather, it is a result of efficient contact tracing of susceptible individuals, along with an increase in the number of tests conducted over the last week.

Analysed daily, Gurugram’s TPR on May 28 was 23.7%, with 68 of 286 new samples testing positive, according to the government health bulletin. This is the highest that the district’s TPR has been since testing began on March 14. TPR is the ratio of positive cases to the total number of samples tested and must be analysed on a daily or a weekly basis to understand the quality of testing and surveillance in a region.

Seen as a moving, weekly average, Gurugram’s TPR jumped from 4% between May 15 and May 21 to 7.7% between May 22 and May 28. During this time, the number of samples tested from the district also increased by 20%, shows health department data. From 1,711 samples tested between May 15 and May 21, Gurugram tested 2,147 samples between May 21 and May 28.

According to Dr Rajesh Kumar, epidemiologist and former professor at the department of community medicine, PGIMS Chandigarh, “This means that contact tracing is working efficiently. And there has been a slight uptick in testing numbers as well, so you could say that the general surveillance system itself has improved.”

However, Kumar also said that an increasing positivity rate, as seen in Gurugram, also indicates that transmission of the virus has not been slowed down due to previous containment measures. “The success of ongoing containment measures will be seen in the next two to three weeks. If successful, then we should see a dip in cases towards mid-June,” he added.

Sudha Garg, the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme’s (IDSP) district surveillance officer in Gurugram, did not respond to requests seeking comment for this story.

However, a senior IDSP official based in Panckula, seeking anonymity, said, “The surge in cases is a function of our surveillance and testing strategy. Better surveillance has yielded more number of cases. There is no cause for alarm as Gurugram’s case fatality ratio is still very low. We are detecting cases early on, and are able to keep mortality in check. This is the hallmark of a good surveillance system.”

Of the 405 COVID-19 cases detected in the district so far, only three have succumbed to the disease. This is less than 1%, whereas India’s case fatality ratio on May 29 stood at about 2.8%, the official pointed out.

JS Punia, chief medical officer (CMO), Gurugram, did not respond to requests for comment on Friday. Additional chief secretary (health), Rajeev Arora, said, “The uptick in number of cases was expected seeing as lockdown restrictions, particularly on public mobility, have been eased. But our testing numbers and surveillance efforts remain robust.”

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