From Our Bureau
26TH JUNE 2020
Telangana recorded 985 COVID-19 fresh cases on Friday, the highest ever for a single day, taking the State’s total to 12,349 confirmed cases. The death toll rose to 237, with seven fresh fatalities reported in the last 24 hours. In all, 4,766 patients were discharged after recovery so far, including 78 in the last 24 hours. As on today, 7,436 active confirmed cases are in the hospitals now, as per the latest official update.
According to the Director of Public Health and Family Welfare, as many as 75,308 samples were tested in the State cumulatively, including 4,374 in the last 24 hours. However, 62,959 samples tested negative so far, including 3,389 in the last 24 hours.
All the 985 fresh cases were reported among locals, taking the sub-total of this group to 11,900. No fresh case was reported among the migrants, deportees and foreign evacuees and their sub-total remained at 449. Thus, the total confirmed cases tally included 11,900 locals, 207 migrants from other States, 212 deportees from other countries and 30 foreign evacuees.
The Director PH& FW said that in view of Covid-19 global pandemic, the State of Telangana has strengthened surveillance, contact tracing and containment measures against the possible spread of disease.
New positive cases were reported from 18 out of 33 districts on Friday. The tally included
774 cases in GHMC area, 86 in Rangareddy district, 53 in Medchal district, 20 in Warangal Urban district, nine in Medak district, seven in Adilabad district, six each in Rajanna Siricilla, Nagarkurnool and Nizamabad districts, three each in Siddipet, Bhupalpally and Khammam districts, two each in Mulugu, Jagtiyal and Yadadri Bhuvanagiri districts and one each in Vikarabad, Mahbubnagar and Miryalguda districts.
It is observed that there is a surge of cases in most of the districts across the State. In view of the surge, the public is requested to be alert and self-vigilant for any signs and symptoms of Influenza Like Illness (ILI) OR Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI).
The lockdown has been relaxed since the 16th May 2020. It is being observed that there is a lot of mobility and movement of people from all walks of life and of all age groups. People are travelling across the state and some of them are not following the basic preventive measures like wearing a mask, maintaining safe physical distancing and avoiding overcrowding. There has been a surge in the cases since relaxation of lockdown.
INSPECTION REPORT ON COVID-19 TESTING BY PRIVATE LABS
On 23rd June, a meeting was held with representatives of the Private Labs who were permitted to do COVID 19 tests. Minister for Health and Medical Services Eatala Rajendra addressed the meeting. Clear guidelines for conducting tests were discussed in detail and doubts were clarified.
On 24th June, lot of discrepancies were reported in the data uploaded by private labs. Four teams comprising of Senior Micro Biologists and Senior Officers from State Health Department inspected all the 16 Private Laboratories.
The Inspection Teams looked at various aspects like infrastructure, human resources, infection control measures and other facilities including general hygiene. The Teams also had gone through the Registers and the data uploaded by the Labs into ICMR and TS State Portal.
The Inspection Teams submitted the Report with all the details which were examined by Expert Committee of Micro Biology Professors along with Director of Medical Education and Vice-Chancellor, Kaloji Narayana Rao University of Health Sciences.
The major findings of the Report as observed in some of the Laboratories are as follows:
a) Lack of safety measures; Staff were not wearing PPE; Safety Cabinets were not available and poor hygienic conditions.
b) There is clear evidence that the staff conducting the Tests have not been trained properly in RTPCR testing for COVID-19.
c) Measures for Quality Control and Validation of Tests were not followed in some of the Labs.
d) Committee also expressed that there is suspicion in some Labs of pooled testing being done; when positive, all cases are reported as positive without doing individual testing leading to some negative cases also being shown as positive. It will be studied by Experts using the amplification plots generated by RTPCR machine.
e) It is also suspected that there is possibility of contamination of samples leading to high positivity rate because safety measures and protocols are not followed meticulously.
f) Another major concern as can be seen by the data entry into ICMR and State Portals is the disparity in the numbers uploaded by all the Labs.
g) At one of the Labs in a major hospital, the actual number of tests conducted were 3,940 but they have uploaded only 1,568 tests and shown 475 as positive.
h) In view of this, the positivity rate percentage is very high which is actually less if the number of all tests done is uploaded.
i) The Teams also observed that at some Labs, Lab area is very congested and hygiene is poor, equipment maintenance is not good.
j) Some of the Labs are conducting tests for walk-ins, advertising that samples will be collected from different places in the City while Government Guidelines very clearly state that only symptomatic cases and patients admitted in hospitals should be tested and they are also not following ICMR Guidelines.
k) The Expert Committee will conduct further inspections to study the problem in detail. They also propose that the Senior Micro Biologists will check the amplification plots and other data in the RTPCR Machine of Private Labs to check whether the reports are correct. l) Tendency of some of the private labs is a matter of grave concern as it not only gives false positive reports but also puts other patients visiting these centres and the staff under the threat of spread of COVID-19.
m) Expert Committee recommends stringent action against some of the Labs for violating the norms and not following Guidelines.
n) ICMR has also directed Gandhi Medical College to conduct quality control tests for private labs. (eom)