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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 17 April 2024

State health department directs districts to ramp up Covid tests

Officials have been asked to ensure health workers reach out to as many people as possible and convince them to get checked if there are any symptoms

Kinsuk Basu Calcutta Published 06.04.21, 02:07 AM
Senior officials at Swasthya Bhavan said that in several districts a large number of people were either reluctant to turn up for tests or were ignoring their illness believing they just had a bout of common cold.

Senior officials at Swasthya Bhavan said that in several districts a large number of people were either reluctant to turn up for tests or were ignoring their illness believing they just had a bout of common cold. Representational image from Shutterstock

The state health department has asked officials in all 23 districts of Bengal, especially the ones close to Calcutta, to ramp up Covid tests after a review revealed several of them were not even close to meeting the halfway mark of the daily target.

Officials in the districts have been asked to ensure that health workers reach out to as many people as possible and convince them to get tested for Covid if there are any symptoms.

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Senior officials at Swasthya Bhavan said that in several districts a large number of people were either reluctant to turn up for tests or were ignoring their illness believing they just had a bout of common cold.

They are going for tests, and are testing positive, weeks later, by when the symptoms have worsened.

At a meeting on Monday, senior health officials from Swasthya Bhavan told their colleagues in the districts that health workers would have to intensify their outreach so that more and more people with mild symptoms got tested early.

“The officials have been told that any delay in identifying a Covid patient will, in turn, delay the process of tracing those who have come in contact with him or her. This should not happen,” said an official at Swasthya Bhavan.

A few weeks back, the health department had drawn up daily targets of Covid-19 tests for each district so that 20,000 tests could be performed every day. North 24-Parganas has to conduct 1,400 tests daily, Bankura 700 tests, and Purulia and West Midnapore 800 each.

“Several districts including Purulia, Bankura and West Midnapore are not even touching the 50 per cent mark,” said the health department official. “South 24-Parganas and Murshidabad are among the better performers with a daily score of more than 80 per cent.”

Officials of some districts said it was difficult to meet the daily target because a section of the staff was engaged in poll duty. Some said they were unable to launch awareness drives because of rallies.

Case count

The number of active Covid cases in Bengal rose by 1,293, to 11,446, on Monday. The state recorded 1,961 new infections and 664 recoveries during the day.

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