MALAPPURAM/T’PURAM: A day after two doctors and three nurses were confirmed to have contracted coronavirus through local contact in Vattamkulam panchayat in Malappuram, the district administration imposed a complete lockdown in Ponnani taluk from 5pm on Monday.People’s movement in the area will be restricted and shops will be allowed to open from 7am to 1pm. The lockdown will continue till July 6 midnight.
With the fear of community transmission still looming large, the health department has decided to chalk out a focused approach to trace the source of infection and negate the possibility of infection spreading to others through these positive patients. Apart from the five healthcare workers, an employee at a private bank, an ASHA worker and a housewife in Vattamkulam panchayat also tested positive from the panchayat.
The department said 1,500 high-risk people from the taluk, which has been declared a containment zone, will be subjected to random testing after it identified more than 10,000 contacts of the infected healthcare workers. If a majority of the test results come out positive, Malappuram could become the first district to have Covid community spread.
The health department will conduct chemiluminescent immunoassay (CLIA)-based serology test. A two-member special team from the Directorate of Health Services (DHS) will visit the taluk for one week to coordinate the activities. The special team comprises DHS deputy director Dr Sanal Kumar and state quality officer Dr Amjith E Kutty. The team will work along with the district medical officer, district programme manager of National Health Mission, district surveillance officer and the Malappuram team.
Random tests begin in Malappuram dist
The contact list of the infected healthcare workers, who work in two private hospitals in Edappal, has become a headache for the department. “For now, we have only prepared the contact list and have to identify the primary and secondary contacts from it. All those who came in contact with the doctors should stay in home quarantine and must inform the health department if they develop any symptom,” District Medical Officer K Sakeena told TNIE.
The authorities have started conducting random tests. All employees of Sukapuram Hospital and Edappal Hospitals will be tested. “Priority will be given to those who came in close contact with the healthcare workers. Then, people belonging to high-risk category like ASHA workers, local body volunteers, police and roadside shop owners in the area will be tested,” Dr Sakeena said.The health department also plans to test healthcare workers in government and private hospitals in the district.Those who came in contact with other positive persons will also be tested.
The test and the plan
The CLIA-based serology test has an overall specificity of 99.8% and an overall sensitivity of 100% in the detection of antibodies including IgG. A total of 1,500 tests will be conducted among various sections of people. As part of the same, 5ml of blood will be collected from each person and tested for SARS-CoV-2 using CLIA-based antibody kits at Kozhikode MCH.