Although a three-week lockdown has helped in bringing down COVID-19 rates in Guwahati, Assam Health department is further ramping up testing facilities in the city to ensure that there is no later spike in infections.
Altogether 103 COVID-19 screening centres will be functional in Guwahati from July 28, including the existing 33 centres in each municipal ward, with each centre set a target of 50 tests per day.
Addressing newly-appointed laboratory technicians for these centres in Guwahati, state Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said: “We are changing the testing strategy a bit in Guwahati. Henceforth, the screening centres will be open from 9 am to 12.30 pm, and after an hour gap, the team will move out to the field for sample collection till 4.30 pm. One of the technicians will be at the centre for any person who might come in the afternoon.”
While all samples collected at the centres that are found COVID-19 negative will be sent for RT-PCR tests, the samples taken at the field level will be subjected to only AG test and only symptomatic persons who test negative in AG test will be asked to come for RT-PCR sample collection the next day.
“The team of technicians which cannot meet the target of 50 samples daily may not have their contracts renewed later as performance will be evaluated. Our target is to test 35% of the city’s population to effectively bring out the infection,” Sarma said.
The minister claimed that the three-week lockdown, which had ended last week, as well as fast detection through AG tests have brought down the spread of the infection in the city, but the positivity rate in the city is still as high as 10%, and it has be contained at 5%.
On increasing treatment facilities for COVID-19 patients, Sarma said 10,000 beds will be ready for positive patients by August 2 in Guwahati and its nearby areas.
While the number of new cases continued to increase in the state, Sarma said the fact that Assam is among the top three states with least mortality and with highest recovery rates are rays of hope for the state.
The testing capacity in the state was further increased with opening of the 17th laboratory in the state, which became operational at the Jorhat Medical College and Hospital on July 27.
The overall COVID-19 tally in the state has reached 32,228 with 1142 new cases detected in the last 24 hours. The recovery tally has also continued to increase with 985 discharges during the last 24 hours, taking the total figure to 24,040.
The death toll due to COVID-19 related complications in the state stands at 79.