In 24 hours till 1700 hours on Monday, Jammu and Kashmir reported 108 COVID-19 cases and one death. Largely, the cases hover around 130-mark from the last few weeks now.
Whether or not these numbers reflect the true situation, or it’s poorer than apparent picture cannot be said with certainty given the fact that optimum testing including the RT-PCR is not done as ought to be. This perhaps stands the reason that top officers in the administration are pressing for it.
On Sunday, when the government extended the closure of the educational institutions, all Deputy Commissioners were asked to intensify testing by making “optimum use of available RT-PCR and RAT capacities and that there shall be no drop in testing levels.”
Earlier Lieutenant Governor, during district-wise assessment of Covid situation with Covid Task Force, DCs and SPs, called for increasing RT-PCR Testing in areas with a high positivity rate.
Prior to him, Chief Secretary and Chairperson, State Executive Committee, in an order regarding further easing of the covid-19 restrictions on August 1 called for increasing the RT-PCR tests in the total mix, underlining that it should be scaled up on the best effort to 70% or more excluding the travelers. The RT-PCR test actually detects RNA (or genetic material) that is specific to the virus and can detect the virus within days of infection, even those who have no symptoms.
According to ICMR, individuals with symptoms identified negative by rapid antigen testing should be linked with the RT-PCR test facility.
Those who test negative for COVID-19 by rapid antigen test are to be definitely tested sequentially by RT-PCR to rule out infection, whereas a positive test should be considered as a true positive and does not need reconfirmation by RT-PCR test.
As has been rightly pointed out by the Lieutenant Governor and the SEC, there is a need to increase the test for the detection of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 and to achieve it all the concerned need to put act together.
This is more important given the possibility of a sudden upsurge of infections cannot be ruled out and it may in turn be overwhelming. In consequence it may jeopardize the health system. The appropriate testing is thus imperative to keep the numbers under check as it helps stem the spread. Also, there is continuous need to scale up the surveillance exercises as well as contact tracing to the optimum level to break the spread chain of the contagion.