COVID: Daily infections see a drop, along with testing numbers
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COVID: Daily infections see a drop, along with testing numbers

May 17, 2021

From 7,500, testing cut to 3,500; people continue to queue-up RT-PCR testing centres

Mysore/Mysuru: While Mysuru’s daily COVID-19 data bulletin over the past couple of days shows that the number of fresh cases has been falling, experts say that the number of fresh cases are falling because there has been a drastic fall in the number of RT-PCR (Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) and RAT (Rapid Antigen Test) tests conducted. 

Experts say that the curve will flatten only if the positivity rate is low while testing is high. An analysis of daily testing and infection data suggests that the recent drop in infections is largely due to a decline in testing. The number of RT-PCR tests conducted has decreased over the past few days.

While over 6,500 to 7,500 per day test targets were given to Mysuru in the first week of April, now the tests stand at 3,000 to 3,500 per day. In Mysuru city alone, there were 23 test centres including Primary Health Centres and now they have been reduced to just 10 centres with most of the test centres being converted into COVID Mitras. As a result, the number of positive cases being reported had also fallen. 

While shortage of testing kits is one reason for the drop in testing, officials say that they have been asked by the State Government to follow syndromic approach to admit COVID-19 patients — Syndromic management involves clinical decision making based on a patient’s symptoms and signs being manifested.

Officials justify move

“Testing has been reduced as infections have increased and there is no point in testing when the lab results come after two or three days. By the time the results come, the persons who have symptoms would have spread the virus to many others. So we are directly treating the symptomatic persons at COVID Mitras. Whoever has symptoms must come to COVID Mitras established all over the city and we will analyse the disease and begin treatment. This is the whole purpose of COVID Mitra,” a Health Department official told Star of Mysore. 

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Testing has even been reduced in Taluk and Hobli level too. Experts, however, says that the District should increase the number of daily tests, instead of reducing them. According to them, this will lead to an increasing number of undetected cases. 

“The administration will have to continue testing well. It is very important to know how the pandemic is turning. Also, it will help put public health measures in place and take up measures to reduce mortality or infections in the area,” they suggest. To confirm flattening of the curve, a drop in the number of daily cases should be observed even while the daily number of RT-PCR tests is sustained at a certain level.

While limited testing is being conducted at places like Chikka Gadiyara where 150 to 200 tests are being conducted daily, other places including private hospitals are testing only 100. Token system is being followed and people are being tested on first-come-first-serve basis. 

The earlier rule said that more and more random testing have to be conducted in places where there are large crowds. Besides, all contacts of positive patients, ILI and SARI cases had to be mandatorily tested. This rule has now been given a go-by.

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