Those with comorbid conditions and/or suffering from non-communicable diseases will be tested for Covid-19 on priority in a bid to avert sudden fatalities and put a check on the rapidly rising number of patients, officials belonging to the National Health Mission (NHM) said on Wednesday.
State NHM director Ravi Shankar Shukla said the state health department will identify people who were more likely to have severe symptoms of the infection due to underlying ailments and test them for Covid-19 in order to reduce chances of fatalities.
“People suffering from comorbid conditions and non-communicable diseases will be prioritised for Covid testing,” said Shukla, adding that the government would also run special campaigns for those suffering from diabetes, cardiac ailments, kidney diseases, cancer and pulmonary disorders.
As per government data, as many as 955 people have died of Covid-19 in Jharkhand so far, and a majority of them suffered from some or the other comorbid condition. Figures compiled by NHM highlight that more than 76 per cent of Covid victims in Jharkhand were older than 50 years and had comorbid conditions. At least 727 of the 955 victims were above the age of 50 years, while 224 were in the age bracket of 11 to 50 years. The Covid fatality rate in Jharkhand was, however, lower than the national average.
After a significant drop in the Covid-19 testing rate during the festive season, the government has again stepped up testing. A senior official from the health department said the drop in testing rates during the festive season was due to fewer cases surfacing in the state.
“Most of the tests are done on the basis of contact tracing. So, once the number of fresh cases surfacing on a daily basis reduces, the number of fresh samples collected also drops,” the official said, requesting anonymity.
He added that very few people in Jharkhand volunteered to get tested for Covid-19 unless they suffered from symptoms or were forced to undergo tests by family and friends. Many people who came in contact with infected people also avoided getting tested due to the fear of being isolated, the official said.
The growth rate of Covid-19 in Jharkhand is still lower than the national average. It stands at 0.16 per cent against the national growth rate of 0.42 per cent in the past one week, as per government data. By Wednesday morning, the Covid-19 tally in the state was 1,07,921 and at least 2,242 people were yet to recover.