THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: After a lull, Kerala is on the COVID-19 national radar again with 14 persons testing positive in two days. A majority of the fresh cases are returnees from abroad and other states who tested positive on arrival.
The state is now most likely to become part of the health ministry’s district-level facility-based surveillance for COVID-19 programme. While the programme monitors trends in the prevalence of the SARS-CoV-2 infection at the district level, it remains unclear whether all fourteen districts in the state will be included.
“The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) are initiating a population-based serosurvey in select districts representing the case detection across the country. But as the proposal has just been received, the state needs to examine it,” said a senior health department official. As per the proposal, ten health facilities -- six public and four private health facilities -- need to be selected.
The throat/nasal swabs will be collected from population groups categorised as high-risk ones (health care workers) and low-risk ones (outpatient attendees, non-influenza- like illness patients and pregnant women).
It is learnt the new surveillance initiative will be a collaboration of ICMR, NCDC, Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme, state health department and the district health units. ICMR had earlier selected Palakkad and Thrissur for a national-level study that covered 22 districts. The state had also carried out surveillance programmes for checking community transmission at Kannur and Kasaragod.