Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, July 5
Five months into Covid pandemic and the district is yet to begin its own testing.
Of the total 24,867 samples collected in the district so far, 22,968 tested negative, while 900 have tested positive so far. The count was 255 in the beginning of June.
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While at one point the district had a backlog of over 2,000 cases with increased testing in Jalandhar following continuous hike in Covid cases, the district authorities claimed the current backlog of Covid samples is down to 50 pending tests. While the district had a backlog of 2,400 cases when the current DC came in, it was subsequently cleared over the past few weeks after special intervention from officials. The backlog of Covid samples tested until July 3 is down to 50.
At present, around 600 tests are being conducted on a daily basis. However, despite being the third most affected district in the state with 22 deaths and a whopping jump of 900 cases today, the district is yet to have a Covid testing lab of its own.
The district Covid report on Sunday stated that the reports of 731 samples were awaited in the district. On Saturday, reports of 960 samples were awaited. Health authorities said these awaited reports include samples of people tested yesterday and today. Health authorities said the new samples being taken per day is currently down to 600-700 from 900-1,000 at some point of time.
Nodal officer Covid Jalandhar Dr TP Singh said: “We are testing about 600 people per day. The sample reports usually arrive two days later. Reports are usually coming out with a delay of 24 to 48 hours. It takes 24 hours for samples to reach only. All backlog until July 3 has been cleared, barring 50-odd cases. The reports of the samples sent on Sunday will be out after a few days. The rest of the sampling is going smoothly and proper contact tracing of all Covid patients is being done.” He said: “Given the cases and contacts, around 600 samples are being taken per day at present. The pending backlog includes only recent samples. The previous backlog has almost been cleared.”
DC Ghanshyam Thori said: “A 2,400 sample waiting list awaited clearance when I came here. After taking up the issue with Isha Kalia, nodal testing officer for state, she helped clear the pendency. Now, the backlog is down considerably. At present, Jalandhar only has a True Nat machine for local sampling, which takes about 18 samples at a time. The rest of the samples are being tested from Faridkot. Samples are usually sent at a centre which receives bulk samples and is competent to handle the massive backlog.”
Opening of RDDL gets delayed
While Jalandhar is the third most affected district by Covid in the state, it has yet to get RT-PCR testing lab of its own. Currently, the only local collecting centres where sample collection takes place is at three labs – Lal Path Labs, SRL labs and Oncquest labs. The recently installed True Nat machine at the Civil Hospital can only test 18 samples at a time. Only urgent testing is done on the machine. All remaining government samples are sent to Faridkot. However, despite the Regional Disease Diagnostic Lab (RDDL) first slated to start on June 10, it hasn’t started functioning yet. MP Santokh Chaudhary, who inaugurated the RDDL and declared that Covid testing would begin from June 10, said: “It was slated to start from June 10 and then June 20, but previously there were some technical glitches. The VC of Baba Farid University had also promised Covid testing machines until June 20. The glitches have been cleared and testing shall start soon. I will also take up the issue again.”
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