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Covid test lab in Barasat hospital

The district has been carrying out around 750 tests a day, the bulk of it in Calcutta facilities
Once the new laboratory is ready, health department officials said the aim would be to test at least 1,300 samples every day

Kinsuk Basu   |   Calcutta   |   Published 09.08.20, 01:32 AM

The health department has decided to set up a laboratory at the district hospital in Barasat to increase the number of Covid tests in North 24-Parganas.  

The district, which has reported the most number of cases after Calcutta, has been carrying out around 750 tests a day, the bulk of it being in three Calcutta hospitals — RG Kar Medical College and Hospital, School of Tropical Medicine and NRS Medical College and Hospital. 

Once the new laboratory is ready, health department officials said the aim would be to test at least 1,300 samples every day.

“With a population of around 1.1 crore, North 24-Parganas has only one dedicated testing centre at the College of Medicine and Sagore Dutta Hospital in Kamarhati,” said a senior health department official. “Once we have a dedicated testing centre, samples won’t have to be sent to Calcutta.”

North 24-Parganas, with several thickly populated pockets spread around parts of Barasat, Barrackpore, Titagarh, Naihati, Bongaon and Ashoknagar, has emerged as one of most critical districts skirting Calcutta. The number of Covid patients has steadily grown despite complete lockdown measures by the board of administrators of the Barasat and Madhyamgram municipalities. 

On Friday, North 24-Parganas added 89 cases taking the total count of “active cases” in the district to 5,611.

The health department has already begun procuring RT-PCR machines so that laboratories in the districts, including one each at Suri, Tamluk and Jhargram, can carry out tests. Interviews for laboratory technicians are being carried out.

“We have decided to take the total number of tests in the state to 25,000 every day in the next few days,” the health department official said.

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