Testing intensified as community transmission appears imminent

The new RT-PCR facility at the Kalamassery Medical College (KMC) will further bolster the testing facilities in the district, according to the officials.
Customers crowd a shop in Kochi , A Sanesh
Customers crowd a shop in Kochi , A Sanesh

KOCHI: As the Covid situation in Kochi steadily moves from ‘contained’ to ‘widespread’, the district administration has gone into overdrive to control the pandemic. Intensive testing, at the rate of as many as 1,200-2,000 tests per day, is being conducted. In addition to the increased tempo of Covid-19 tests in government facilities, the rate of testing  in private labs has been stepped up.Minister V S Sunil Kumar, in charge of Covid preventive measures in the district, said ways to further increase the number of tests are being explored. “So far, 950 to 1,200 tests are been carried out on a daily basis and these will be increased to 2,000. By roping in private laboratories, measures have been undertaken to increase the testing rates. Apart from RT-PCR tests, the number of antigen and antibody tests will also be increased,” he said. 

The new RT-PCR facility at the Kalamassery Medical College (KMC) will further bolster the testing facilities in the district, according to the officials. “The facility is in the process of being installed and it will have the capacity to test 80 samples at a time,” said a KMC official . Presently, around 250 samples are being tested at the Kalamassery Medical College daily and 70 samples at three private hospitals, with nearly 600 samples analysed in private laboratories. Apart from these, 1,500-2,000 antibody tests and nearly 70 antigen tests are being conducted at the Kochi airport. 

Steps have been taken to commence antigen testing in  various containment zones in the district as well. “When more tests are conducted, we expect more persons to test positive and we have made all necessary arrangements to treat them. Local transmission cases are likely to increase and we have formed a special team to track the source of such infections. Chellanam and Mulavukad regions continue to show alarming trends and therefore we have intensified  surveillance and antigen testing in these regions,” said a health official. 

According to the health officials, antigen testing has commenced at the 12 government hospitals in the district. Sanction is also being given to private hospitals to start antigen testing.  The district administration has said those with symptoms should not step out of their residences and should seek the immediate help of health officials. “Those with symptoms should not leave their residences or interact with others. In case, symptoms are observed, the nearest Primary Health Centre or telemedicine facility or e-Sanjeevani should be availed at once,” said S Sreedevi, district surveillance officer.

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