GUWAHATI: A septuagenarian in Meghalaya died of asthmatic complications after a mechanical error saw him being sent to 14 days’ quarantine and declared positive for COVID-19.
This is, possibly, the first “false positive” case of COVID-19 in the Northeast.
Aman War, who is the Director of Health Services in Meghalaya, said the RT-PRC tests that are conducted with machines have a 99% accuracy rate.
“The case in question fell under that 1% error. That’s why, it was categorised as false positive,” he said.
The man, who hailed from Umsamlem village in Ri-Bhoi district bordering Assam, was admitted to a hospital in state capital Shillong early this month. Later, he was diagnosed with an acute respiratory infection.
On June 9, he was declared COVID-19 positive and this made the authorities to undertake contract tracing. The swab samples of some people in his village, as well as Shillong, were collected and tested but none of them was found to have contracted the virus. The man too tested negative in subsequent tests.
Official sources said he was discharged from the hospital on June 22 at his insistence and his family’s request. After he died four days later, the body was buried at the Catholic Church cemetery in the village.
Till Sunday, Meghalaya recorded a total of 48 cases, including one death. Currently, there are five active cases. Over 18,000 people had returned to the state following the outbreak of the disease.
Neighbouring Assam recorded 7,165 cases, including 10 deaths, till Saturday night. There are now 2,338 active cases. As there is an alarming spike in the number of cases in Guwahati, the government will enforce a 14-day “total lockdown” in the city from 7 pm of Sunday.
All government and private offices, commercial establishments, shops and trade activities, industrial establishments, places of worship etc will remain closed.