Chhattisgarh awaits results of over 4,000 Covid-19 test samples

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Around 4,000 test results of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) are still pending with the Chhattisgarh health department amid the state’s tally reaching 1,197 positive cases till Monday.

State health department officials said over 600 Covid-19 positive cases were reported in the past 10 days due to the influx of migrant workers because of the easing of nationwide lockdown restrictions, which were imposed on March 25 to contain the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Niharika Barik Singh, health secretary, Chhattisgarh, attributed the pending test results to the limited strength of the four bio-safety laboratories (BSLs) in the state, including two in Raipur alone, as they are struggling to keep pace with the swab samples being collected daily.

“We’re receiving more swab samples than these laboratories can handle. However, many results are also pending due to a delay in data entry in the Indian Council of Medical Research’s (ICMR) portal. We’ve also increased the headcount of data entry operators and laboratory technicians to clear the backlog. For instance, we’ve provided five data entry operators and an equal number of technicians to the Raipur-based All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS),” Singh said,

“Besides AIIMS, Raipur, three other BSLs in Ambikapur, Bilaspur and Rajnandgaon will become functional from July,” Singh added.

State health minister Tribhuvaneshwar Saran Singh Deo echoed the state health secretary.

“The AIIMS authorities in Raipur have requested us not to send any new swab samples for the next four days. Testing is on in full swing, and the backlog will be cleared soon. We’re conducting tests in the other three state-run hospitals as well,” the minister said

“The testing is a manual process, and it takes about eight hours to process a single swab sample. The technicians are already working on three shifts. We need to scale up the process for quicker turnaround time for the availability of test results. However, we need additional funds for the exercise and the state government is working towards it,” said a health department official, who didn’t wish to be named.

“Earlier till May 14, the test results were available in two-three days, by May 25 the time lag increased to five-seven days and now, in some cases, it is taking up to 10-12 days,” said a state health department official, requesting anonymity.

The state authorities have collected 85,346 swab samples till Monday, of which 80,447 test results are available and another and 3,948 are still pending, the officials said.

Chhattisgarh has reported 1,197 Covid-19 positive cases until Monday, including 104 new cases.

Of the new Covid-19 positive cases, two Chhattisgarh police personnel, and an Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) jawan have been found to be infected with SARS-CoV-2, which causes the disease.

So far, 52 Covid-19 patients from the state have recovered from the viral infection.

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