Tribune News Service
Srinagar, May 21
Nearly 11,000 samples are pending for Covid testing in Kashmir, even as authorities have adopted pooled testing to conduct more investigations while reducing the load on laboratories.
The highest number of samples is pending at Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), Soura.
Official records reveal that 10,465 samples were pending at SKIMS, Soura, while 766 were pending at Chest Disease (CD) Hospital until Thursday.
The increase in pendency has been attributed to amplified sample collection but limited testing capacity in Valley hospitals.
“We are receiving more samples for coronavirus tests than what we used to receive in April. However, testing capacity is the same,” said Dr Ghulam Hassan Yatoo, nodal officer for coronavirus control at SKIMS.
Yatoo said, on an average, SKIMS would receive around 500 samples in a day in April while the number increased to 3,000 per day in the current week.
As cases spiked in the past few weeks, authorities linked the rise to amplified testing which has gone up manifolds.
Until April 30, SKIMS had conducted 8,378 tests in almost two months while the number went up to 31,862 by May 20. Similarly, the CD Hospital has conducted nearly 22,000 tests since March 14.
However, SKIMS has adopted Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) recommended pooled testing procedure, which is being seen as an effective way to conduct coronavirus tests on more people while reducing the load on laboratories.
Pooled testing involves using a real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test kit for testing multiple swab samples collected from people who may have been exposed to the virus. No more than five samples can be pooled.
If the pool tests negative, it is concluded that all of them are negative. If the bulk sample tests positive, it indicates that at least one person in the pool has Covid. Each of the samples from the pool is then tested separately to identify the infected individual/s.
So far, 18 persons have died of Covid and 1,188 have tested positive in Kashmir alone.
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