Covid positive cases dip in Karnataka, and so does testing
Low testing could lead to spreading of infection in Karnataka, warn health officials; focus on RT-PCR tests
BENGALURU: Though the number of cases has been coming down in Karnataka, it is essential to maintain a high level of testing in order to track the infection at an early stage. However, in the past week, Karnataka has seen a major drop in the number of Covid-19 tests.
On September 15, the number of tests done was high, at 1,70,306, after which testing began to dip. On September 16, the number of Covid tests done were 1,66,006, followed by 1,48,496 on September 17, 1,38,920 on September 19, 1,29,784 on September 20 and 1,01,549 on September 21. There was a spike on Wednesday, with 1,46,772 tests. Recently, the government changed its testing strategy and stated that the daily test target should be 1.75 lakh for the state. However, the number of tests stands low.
Prior to September 15 too, testing had fallen -- on September 11, 1,19,503 tests were performed, followed by 1,00,176 on September 12, 1,19,014 tests on September 13 and 1,06,645 tests on September 14. A public health official pointed out that it was important not to bring down the number of tests, as asymptomatic carriers and symptomatic ones could be missed, leading to spread in infection. “Both qualitative and quantitative testing is a must,” the official said.
Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar pointed out that the state has reduced the number of Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) and the focus is to conduct more RT-PCR tests. “So far, we have conducted 4.64 crore tests across the state, of which 3.77 crore are RT-PCR. This is one of the highest in the entire country. Due to heavy rain in several parts of the state, the number of Rapid Antigen Tests has come down in the past week, while RT-PCR have remained intact. Also, we are now focusing on targeted RT-PCR testing in districts bordering Kerala, to screen primary and secondary contacts and symptomatic children.”
Nation Health Mission Director Dr Arundathi Chandrashekar said, “As the number of people testing positive has come down, contact tracing also has decreased, so the number of tests has reduced. For one Covid positive patient, 10-15 contacts would be tested. This apart, random tests are being conducted at the borders for only symptomatic patients, which is being carried out efficiently.”
Meanwhile, in BBMP limits, the target is around 1 lakh tests per day, however, BBMP has been conducting 50,000-60,000 tests. A reduction was seen in the city on September 17, with only 37,179 tests done, followed by 49,954 tests on September 18 and 41,695 tests on September 19, while September 20 saw a high of 56,108 tests.