Odisha Fights COVID-19: Contact Tracing To Become Herculean Task, Says Subroto Bagchi

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Bhubaneswar: With 20 novel coronanvirus (COVID-19) positive cases reported from Odisha including 15 in a single day on Friday, the state government on Saturday made it clear that the contact tracing of the persons infected with the deadly virus will become a herculean task in the coming days if the people will violate the basic health guidelines.

Briefing mediapersons here, chief spokesperson of the state government on COVID-19 Subroto Bagchi said the contact list of an infected person is done on the basis of the travel history i.e., the places the person had visited and the people he had come in contact. The entire exercise is done overnight as any further delay heightens the risk of more infection. If any person from the contact list is tested positive, another contact list of this person is prepared and this becomes a continuous process.

Displaying a probability chart to highlight the magnitude of the contact tracing exercise, he said if 20 samples are tested positive tonight and taking the average number of 50 persons coming in contact with each person, then the government has to contact 1000 people in the night on the same day.

“To contact 1000 persons, 10 special tracking teams with 10 persons in each team (a senior district officer, police officer and a hospital staffer and seven back-end members) will be formed. To bring the 1000 contacted persons, two vehicles (one ambulance van in which the contact persons will be brought and another vehicle for the tracking team) will be required. Taking the number of the contacted persons, the government will engage 2000 vehicles to bring 1000 persons. To conduct the test of 1000 persons requires 1000 testing kits,” Bagchi said.

He also said if 10 per cent of the 1000 contacted persons are tested positive and with an average 50 persons coming in contact with each person, another contact list of 5000 persons has to be made on the same day for which 100 tracking teams (1000 members), 10,000 vehicles and 5000 testing kits will be required. In this process, if the contact list of 2.5 lakh people is prepared, it will require 5000 tracking teams with 50,000 officials, five lakh vehicles and 2.5 lakh testing kits.

Bagchi said that going by the number of infected persons and the deployment of manpower, it will become a Herculean task for the government in the coming days. “If the 20 infected persons had informed the government about their travel history in advance, the average number of the contacted persons would have come down to 5600 for whom the same number of testing kits (5600) would have required,” he added.

Considering the magnitude of the task, the state government is going to encounter in the coming days, Bagchi requested the people to voluntarily come forward and inform the government about their detailed travel history by dialling 104 without waiting for contact tracing.

He also requested the people to sincerely cooperate with the police and the government machinery to do their job. “If the administration and the police detain the people on the road and advise them about the social distancing guidelines, then who will do their job?” Bagchi asked.

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