Odisha Testing Less Samples For COVID, 14% Drop Since January 12
Bhubaneswar: The COVID-19 cases in Odisha have skyrocketed from 424 on January 1 to 11,607 on January 19, the highest single-day total so far this year.
Amid this surge, COVID testing in the state has dropped to around 14 per cent since January 12 when the daily caseload breached the 10,000-mark for the first time during the third wave of COVID. It had then tested 81,065 samples and since then there has been a fall in testing with 75,731 on January 13, 74,936 on January 14, 77,120 on January 15, 70,117 on January 16 and 70,990 on January 17.
The testing dropped further to 69,502 samples on January 18, despite a directive from the Centre to enhance the number to effectively track the spread of the pandemic.
Notably, the state has been reporting over 11,000 new cases for the last two consecutive days. The state had added 11,086 fresh COVID-19 cases to its affected tally on Tuesday and 10,489 cases the day before, a slight drop from 11,177 on Sunday.
The health authorities attributed this decline to the new ICMR testing guidelines to do away with testing of asymptomatic persons on demand, low-risk contacts, and asymptomatic persons undergoing other procedures at hospitals.
“We are planning to increase the COVID test centres and their daily testing capacity. Steps are being taken as per the suggestions of the central government,” Director, Health Services, Bijay Mohapatra said on Wednesday.
Former ICMR member and microbiologist Dr Tribhuban Mohan Mohapatra, however, said that the state had witnessed a plateau for a longer period during the second wave due to erratic testing and this has been the case since the outbreak of COVID-19. “Unlike the second wave, the virus is spreading fast now and as many tests as possible to identify more number of cases, leading to the peak, following which the infection will decline,” he told TNIE.
Odisha now has 84,770 active cases and Khurda, Sundargarh, Cuttack, Sambalpur and Balasore were in the RED zone with 29745, 10554, 5934, 3498, 3227 cases respectively till January 19.
Till January 18, Sundargarh had recorded the highest test positivity rate of 36.1 per cent, followed by Khurda at 31.1 per cent. 25 districts are in the RED zone with TPR above 7.5 per cent.