With state yet to reach peak, Centre asks Odisha to ramp up COVID-19 testing

The daily case count which witnessed a marginal drop on January 16 rose again the next day due to the fluctuation in the number of tests.

Published: 19th January 2022 08:22 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th January 2022 08:22 AM   |  A+A-

Bhubaneswar COVID

An artist busy painting on walls on the theme of COVID-19 in Bhubaneswar (File photo| Biswanath Swain, EPS)

By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: Even as some of the COVID hotspot states and cities have begun to show signs of a decline, Odisha continues to throw up over 10,000 cases daily as it is yet to hit a peak.

With the third wave taking the State under its grip, the new COVID-19 cases skyrocketed from 424 on January 1 to 11,177 on January 15, the highest single day total so far this year. The State reported 11,086 cases and four deaths in the last 24 hours taking the tally to 11.55 lakh and death toll to 8,488.

There have been fluctuations in daily caseload following around 13 per cent (pc) dip in the tests in the last five days. The number of tests has declined from 81,065 samples on January 12 to 70,990 on Monday.

The drop in test notwithstanding, the TPR continued to rise. The daily case count which witnessed a marginal drop on January 16 (10,489), rose again the next day due to the fluctuation in the number of tests.

Former ICMR member and microbiologist Dr Tribhuban Mohan Mohapatra said the testing strategy of Odisha has been erratic since the beginning of the pandemic, which is why it had witnessed a plateau for a longer period during the second wave.

"Unlike the second wave, the virus during the third wave is spreading fast due to the super mutant variant Omicron. If the State can conduct as many tests and identify as many cases, it will be better. As soon as it hits the peak, the infection will decline. The sooner the better or else it may face the scenario like last year," he warned.  

Health authorities, however, claimed that the number of tests conducted has been reducing since the new ICMR testing guidelines were introduced. "The tests declined as the guidelines do away with testing of asymptomatic persons on demand, low-risk contacts, and asymptomatic persons undergoing other procedures at hospitals," said Director of Health Services Dr Bijay Mohapatra.

However, the Centre has flagged the drop in tests by some states, including Odisha and asked to enhance testing so that an effective track of the spread of the pandemic can be kept and immediate citizen-centric action initiated.

Additional Secretary in the Union Health Ministry Arti Ahuja has advised to immediately increase the testing in a strategic manner keeping in view the trend of case positivity in specific areas.

Bhubaneswar's TPR doubles in a week

BHUBANESWAR: Despite large scale vaccination drive and containment measures of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) to put a break on the surge in transmission, the infection count and daily test positivity rate in the State Capital has doubled in the last one week.

The city reported 1,402 new cases in the last 24 hours, almost double than what it had reported a week back. As many as 710 cases had been reported in BMC jurisdiction on January 11. The daily TPR of the city jumped to 15.56 per cent on Tuesday. The TPR has increased despite a marginal drop in the number of tests. 


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