As stranded migrant workers have started returning home, the number of coronavirus (Covid-19) positive cases are rising for the first time even in the remote hilly districts of Uttarakhand, forcing the state health officials to beef up equipment and quarantine centres.
On Wedensday,May 20, the state witnessed a spike in numbers after 13 Covid-19 positive cases were reported from the hilly districts of Almora (3), Bageshwar (2), Chamoli (1), Pauri Garhwal (4), and Uttarkashi (3). In fact, a day before, Bageshwar and Chamoli districts reported their first cases of the viral outbreak.
Uttarakhand authorities have collected 15,503 swab samples to test, of which 1,443 were collected from the state’s nine hilly districts. As of May 17, only 575 samples were tested, and 792 and 754 were tested on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. The officials are now hoping to test at least 1,200 for a daily pool testing.
Dr. SK Gupta, director, state medical and health department, said, “We cannot stop people from returning to their native places during this pandemic. However, we’re trying to adopt new strategies such as bringing about a change in the testing pattern and putting in place a more effective mechanism for migrant returnees to be kept under institutional quarantine.”
Khanduri calls for Govt’s preparedness
Uttarakhand Congress leader Manish Khanduri has called for more equipment supply to the frontline workers and government staff dealing with the cases. In a TV debate on India Voice, he said,”irrespective of politics, time has come for all to fight the virus collectively in the state. Returning migrants should not be stopped as they have a fundamental right to return home. It’s the leadership of the government which has to be prepared on all fronts to deal with the crisis.”
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Posted by India Voice News TV on Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Pool testing helps to increase the number of samples tested during a day by looking at a sample size between 1,200 and 1,500 in a certain batch. If the result comes negative, then it means none of the people has contracted Covid-19. But, if the result turns out to be positive, then all the people of that batch will be put under individual tests.
“If a person tests Covid-19 positive during pool testing, then more attention needs to be paid through contact tracing and conducting more tests on the other people that the infected person came in contact with,” said the health official.
Over the past 48 hours, more Covid-19 positive cases have been reported even from Uttarkashi, Almora, Chamoli, Bageshwar, and Pauri Garhwal. Uttarakhand has reported 120 Covid-19 positive cases till Wednesday, an increase of nine cases from the previous day.