Delhi govt to start 'aggressive' contact tracing, increase COVID-19 testing via network of 300 clinics, hospitals
Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain said the recent increase in COVID-19 cases was due to patients from outside seeking treatment in the National Capital, return of migrants who left during lockdown as well as increased testing
New Delhi: The Delhi government will scale up COVID-19 testing through its network of 300 dispensaries and hospitals, and start aggressive contact tracing of coronavirus patients in the city, Health Minister Satyendar Jain said on Friday.
The health minister said the AAP government is committed to doubling the COVID-19 test from the present 20,000 per day to 40,000 per day within a week.
Jain said the recent increase in number of COVID-19 cases in Delhi was due to various reasons: including patients from outside seeking treatment in the city, return of migrants who left Delhi during lockdown as well as increased testing.
"People can have free COVID-19 tests at the dispensaries whose time has been extended to five hours from 9 am to 2 pm. Even if dispensaries conduct on average 100 tests and hospitals 200 tests per day, the target of scaling up testing to daily 40,000 from the currently around 20,000, will be met," he said when asked how government plans to scale up testing in the city.
He said 300 dispensaries and hospitals are conducting free COVID-19 presently.
The government will also create awareness about this move. Testing in containment zones and districts will go side by side, he told reporters.
"Presently, out of 3,700 corona patients in Delhi government hospitals, around 30 percent patients are from other states. Also, the number of tests were lower as people stayed home during the recent festivals. Now tests have increased and so has the number of positive cases," he said.
"Delhi has the highest rate of per million testing in the country. We are working on the strategy of aggressive contact tracing and testing and Corona will be completely checked if the strategy succeeds. After doubling the number of tests to 40,000 we will trace and test all the contacts of COVID-19 patients," he said.
The health minister said Delhi was still "halfway behind" the peak of the pandemic and the rise in number of positive cases in last few days was not a second wave of the COVID-19 infection as was claimed by some experts.
"Its a short duration rise. Delhi is still halfway behind the peak. The positivity rate is around 7 percent which at one point of time was 30 percent," he said.
Jain said the government has the availability of adequate number of kits to double the testing to 40,000 per day.
"The asymptomatic cases are tested through the rapid antigen test which takes around 30 minutes. There can not be a fixed ratio of rapid tests and RTPCR test which is employed for symptomatic patients," he said.
Delhi government is prepared to deal with a situation if number of containment zones increase due to doubling of the testing, he said.
The minister said the hospitals have been directed to refer need of oxygen concentrators in case of discharged COVID-19 patients, and the government will provide it to those facing breathing issue or low oxygen level.
He said Delhi government will fight dengue by making Delhiites partners in its '10 Hafte 10 Baje 10 Minute' campaign against mosquito breeding to be launched next month.
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Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said this is the fastest pace at which one crore doses have been administered.