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Ghaziabad in September: ILI/SARI symptoms, random testing had highest share in positive Covid-19 cases

By Peeyush Khandelwal, Ghaziabad
PUBLISHED ON SEP 30, 2020 11:40 PM IST

According to Ghaziabad district health officials, 98% of fresh Covid-19 cases in September were of those who had symptoms of influenza-like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory illness (SARI), or were contacts of positive patients, or those who randomly arrived for testing.

The other categories -- domestic travellers, health care workers, suspected field activities, pre-surgical activities, among others-- formed less than 2% of the 5,416 fresh cases in September, which increased by 53% over August.

Of the 5,416 fresh cases, 2404 were those who tested positive after they were symptoms of ILI/SARI and detected. In August this was around 1,700. Likewise, about 2,314 persons who were tested at different testing booths turned positive in September compared to 1,309 in the previous month, and 595 were contacts of positive patients, compared to 413 in August.

“The increase in number of Covid-19 cases has been due to our strategy of early detection and increased testing. For early detection we have been focussing on surveillance in which teams are tracing people having ILI/SARI symptoms and getting them tested. Likewise, the number of testing locations, 20, has been witnessing more incoming of people who are willing to take up testing,” said Ajay Shankar Pandey, district magistrate.

“Since the use of rapid antigen kits is increasing and takes less time, more people are coming to the centres to get themselves tested. We are also focussing on speedy tracing of contacts of positive patients and our contact tracing is bout 98% at present. This has also yielded results and we have been able to find more positive cases. The idea is for early detection, testing and referral to Covid facilities so that treatment can start immediately,” he added.

“During the surveillance and household surveys, the teams are focussing on people having symptoms of ILI/SARI as these are Covid-like symptoms. Further, the home isolation facility has also helped people as they can stay in comfort of their homes and get treatment. So, people are more willing to come out and get themselves tested. This is why we have also increased our testing which is about 5000 in past two days,” said an officer from the health department who wished not to be named.

According to the official records, the Ghaziabad district for the first time collected more than 5000 samples, 5124, on September 28 and collected 5802 samples on September 29.

The officials have also been directed to take up the total testing per day to minimum of 6000 per day. The overall testing in the district till September 29 stood at 304810 which includes 180995 tests done through the use of rapid antigen kits.

Dr Gyan Bharti, senior pulmonologist from Columbia Asia Hospital at Ghaziabad said during the months of August and September there has been increase in cases having symptoms of ILI and SARI.

“Since the symptoms are Covid-like, there is narrowed approach to prioritize test of people having ILI/SARI symptoms and many of these have tested positive. With opening of activities after lockdown, people who wish to go to offices and undertake travel also need tests. So, there is increase in number of people who are getting themselves tested at the centres. Since there is spread of infection, those walking in randomly are also turning positive although majority are asymptomatic,” he added.

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