Why Covid-19 Testing is So Low? CPIML Gives Memo to Udaipur Administration

NOW we all know that contact tracing and testing is very important for preventing the spread of COVID-19. The testing is not being increased in proportion with the rate at which COVID positive cases are increasing in India which is now a 7th place in the world in total number of cases. The increase in COVID positive cases in Lockdown-4 is said to be much higher than the rate of testing.

In District Udaipur, the average testing numbers are much lower even in comparison with other districts in Rajasthan, especially after Lockdown-3 when there has been a rapid increase in the number of cases. At the beginning of Lockdown-3 on 4th May the figures for Rajasthan were 1, 29,258 tests out of which 3061 were positive; on the same day the figures for Udaipur were 2927 test out of which 15 were COVID positive. Currently in Lockdown-4 on 28th May the figures for Rajasthan are 3,50,600 tests out of which 7947 are COVID positive, while the figures for Udaipur are 14,779 tests out of which 523 are COVID positive cases.

An analysis of the figures for Rajasthan show that while COVID testing has increased by merely 2.71 times during this period, positive cases have increased 2.59 times; whereas, the figures for Udaipur appear to be startling. The increase in COVID tests is about 5 times that in the State, but that does not seem enough in view of the COVID positive cases which have gone up from 15 to 523 cases; that is, the increase in positive cases is a 35-fold increase. In other words, at the beginning of Lockdown-3 one out of 195 tests in the city used to come out positive but now one out of 28 tests comes out positive, whereas at the State level this number continues to remain at around 44.

These figures seem to suggest that contact tracing and testing are not sufficient in comparison with the sudden surge in COVID positive cases in the District. Besides few identified clusters, new cases are now also coming almost on a daily basis from new areas in Udaipur city and District. The COVID positive cases have come in from all but 2 of the 15 Tehsils in the District, indicating the District-level spread of the infection.  It is also worth noting that the effect of migrant workers returning home should also start being reflected in the testing figures if WHO testing guidelines are followed.

CPIML in Udaipur has asked the district administration through a memorandum to give due consideration and take steps to increase testing as required.

Ironically, as per a newspaper report the District COVID Testing Facility is doing tests only to half of its capacity due to lack of sufficient staff.