City’s Covid detection rate rises to 7% after more tests in containment areasUpdated: Apr 30, 2020 23:57 IST
The percentage of novel coronavirus cases, compared to samples tested, in the state has increased to 7% from 4% in the last 15 days due to change in testing protocol that is targeting containment zones, which have a higher proportion of cases. Due to the better detection of cases, the number of false reporting of Covid-19 cases have also decreased.
Maharashtra’s Covid-19 cases now stand at 10,498, the highest in the country. This is because of better detection rate with a change in testing protocol and an increase in the number of testing centres to 50 in the state.
“As we have narrowed the testing protocol, we are able to focus more on symptomatic patients and close contact high-risk patients with comorbid health issues. This has helped us to detect more number of positive cases. Along with this, we have also boosted up our per day testing capacity. With more testing, more number of cases are being detected,” said Anup Kumar Yadav, commissioner (family welfare) and director of National Health Mission, Maharashtra.
Till April 12, per 100 tests, four samples used to turn positive of the virus which has now increased to seven samples. As per the data provided by the state health department, till Wednesday, as many as 1,35,694 samples have been tested in the state. Out of this 6.87% of them have tested positive for Covid-19. However, the detection rate was much lower until April 12. Out of the total 39,725 samples tested, only 4% (1,761) came positive of Covid-19. This is in the backdrop that more number of symptomatic patients are getting diagnosed with Covid within the containment zones, due to change in testing protocols.
Following the protocol of the Indian Council of Medical Research, since April 12, the state health department has instructed all government and private laboratories not to collect samples from persons not showing any symptoms.
This circular made it mandatory to test only symptomatic persons (who have cough, fever), people over 60 years of age who are high-risk contacts of Covid-19 positive patients whether they are showing symptoms or not, healthcare workers, pregnant women, patients on dialysis and chemotherapy. While asymptomatic high-risk contacts of positive patients can get if they develop symptoms, or after careful observation between 5 and 14 days of contact with an infected person. They are referred for home quarantine.
On March 9, when Maharashtra witnessed the first three cases of Covid-19, the state was having a capacity of 100 tests per day but today, the testing capacity of the state along with private labs has been increased to 10,000 tests per day.
“Earlier, we had noticed that despite coming negative in tests, people were turned positive after a few days. As we are testing more numbers of symptomatic patients, the cases of false reporting of positive have also plunged down,” Yadav said.
The total number of novel coronavirus cases in Maharashtra on Wednesday rose to 9, 915 after recording 597 fresh cases, according to the state public health department. Active patients in the state now stand at 7,890 while 1,593 patients have been discharged or cured of the highly contagious disease.
Public health experts have also praised the change in the testing pattern of the state government which has brought down the mortality rate closer to the actual average. “More number of symptomatic patients are getting detected at an early stage which has helped to provide treatment on time. Even countries like China and Italy had followed a similar protocol. With better detection rate, the epidemic curve will rise drastically but as they start recovering and containment of the spread of the virus, the graph will also fall down,” said Sanjay Pattiwar, independent public health consultant.