Rajasthan banks on new testing guidelines, says test more if positivity rate high
Breaching the 36,000-mark on Sunday, Rajasthan reported 1,132 new Covid-19 cases, pushing the cumulative tally to 36,430, out of which 9,852 cases are active. There have been 621 deaths in the state so far, the state bulletin released on late Sunday evening stated.Updated: Jul 26, 2020 22:33 IST
In a revamped strategy to fight coronavirus disease outbreak, Rajasthan on Sunday issued guidelines directing testing of more samples in the areas of state with high positivity rate. Additionally, samples will be reviewed in the areas of Rajasthan where positivity rate is low.
Breaching the 36,000-mark on Sunday, Rajasthan reported 1,132 new Covid-19 cases, pushing the cumulative tally to 36,430, out of which 9,852 cases are active. There have been 621 deaths in the state so far, the state bulletin released on late Sunday evening stated.
The state has tested 1,377,850 samples until Sunday morning.
The guidelines mention 12 categories of people for testing, four for random sampling. The detailed guideline also includes the process of when a sample tests positive or negative.
“We have issued the guidelines to ensure that we stop the spread of infection by studying the patter of patients and spread. The objective is also to ensure treatment to positive cases,” medical and health department principal secretary Akhil Arora said.
The guidelines said samples of the following categories of people should be taken for test: people who have undertaken an international travel in last 14 days and have symptoms of influenza-like illness (ILI); contacts of positive cases who have ILI; all health and front line workers engaged in Covid-19 care and have ILI; people who have symptoms of SARI (Severe Acute Respiratory Infection); close contacts of positive cases who are asymptomatic; people with ILI in hot spots and containment zones; all indoor patients with ILI or with co-morbid conditions or belonging to the risk group; people who travelled in from outside and have ILI; health and other workers who are in close contacts of patients; all indoor patients in medical institutions.
The guidelines also talk about random sampling of four categories of people. These are: super spreaders such as domestic helps, fruit and vegetable vendors, grocery stores, hair dressers, beauty parlours, saloons and iron men; vulnerable groups (people above 60 years, those with chronic illness, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, chronic lung disease) in congested areas; people in areas where large assemblies occur such as mandis, bus stands, airports, public transport, banks and other financial institutions; and corona warriors and health care workers in government and private hospitals with high patient load.
“If random sample suggest high positivity rate, the department will focus more on the area,” the principal secretary said.
The guidelines said sample of people who are asymptomatic and are contacts of positive cases should be taken between fifth and tenth day of the positive report. Sample of people who travelled into the state and have ILI should be tested after seven days of institutional isolation and before home isolation.
The department has directed lab technicians to feed profile of person whose sample is being drawn, into the RT-PCR app. “Upload Aadhaar of the person; if that is not available, upload Aadhaar of head of the family. Also indicate if the sample is new or repeat,” the guidelines said.
The guidelines said a person who has been tested should be informed about the results, positive or negative, within 24 hours. “It is responsibility of the hospital, lab or department officials that every person whose sample has been taken is informed about the test result,” the guidelines said.
“If a sample tests negative and the person is asymptomatic, advise him precautions. If sample tests negative and the person has mild symptoms, provide him treatment at home. If the sample tests negative and the person has moderate or severe symptoms, send him to SARI ward of non-Covid hospital for treatment,” the guidelines said.
For samples testing positive, the guidelines said if they are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms, put them in home isolation. If they are from the vulnerable group, a health officer should monitor them, especially their oxygen saturation. The home isolation will be for 14 days and after expiry of this period, the person will sign an undertaking of informing the department if there are symptoms. The department will give hydroxycholoquine (HCQ) as prohylaxis to close contacts and care givers of people in home isolation.
If such people don’t have home isolation facility, they will be kept in Covid care centres, the guidelines said. They need to be followed up for seven days if there is no fever for three days in a row. There’s no need for Covid test after the home isolation if the person is asymptomatic.
The guidelines said people with moderate symptoms, who test positive, shall be treated in Covid health centres, and those with severe symptoms, in dedicated Covid hospitals.