Backlog of untested samples is at dangerous level of 20.5 %. Biggest backlog in Haridwar district.
With a backlog of over 7000 swab samples which are waiting to be tested for Covid-19 in different laboratories, Uttarakhand is precariously placed in its fight against the pandemic. As per the bulletin of the state health department released at 2 pm on Wednesday, the backlog of untested samples stands at staggering 7004. The state has so far collected 34413 swab samples for Covid-19 test out of which 7004 samples are awaiting tests which means that the state has a backlog of 20.5 percent (backlog vis a’ vis total samples collected). This percentage when compared with other states paints a very sad picture of Uttarakhand. Himachal Pradesh (HP), the neighbouring state of Uttarakhand for example has only 2.5 percent of untested samples (compare it with 20.5 percent of Uttarakhand). It is not only the HP which is faring much better than Uttarakhand, take the case of Rajasthan where a total of 440789 samples have so far been collected and out of which 428471 samples have been tested and it has a pendency of only 2945 samples. The percentage of untested samples in Rajasthan is only 0.66.
In Uttarakhand, Haridwar district leads the tally of backlog with 2994 samples which are yet to be tested. It is learnt that the samples collected on May 24 are yet to be tested in this district. The mountainous district of Tehri has a backlog of 1528 samples while results of 765 samples are awaited in Nainital district. In last few days, the samples in the laboratories of the state are continuing to get accumulated. On May 21, the backlog was of about 1600 samples which jumped to 2300 on May 23, 3500 on May 25, 3900 on May 27 and 4700 on May 29. The backlog became 6100 on May 31 and crossed 7000 figure mark on Wednesday.
One does not need to be an expert to understand the importance of testing to keep a check on Covid-19. The accumulation of samples in the laboratories means that there is an inordinate delay in finding the positive patients and increasing chances of contagion to spread in the population. Social activist and health expert Anoop Nautiyal who is keeping a close eye on the progress of the disease and measures taken to combat the pandemic said that huge backlog of samples is an ominous sign for the state and immediate steps are needed to increase the pace of sample testing in the state. He said that health department of Uttarakhand should take inspiration from neighbouring Himachal Pradesh in this respect.
The government spokesperson and cabinet minister Madan Kaushik accepted that large number of samples are pending to be tested in the state. He said that the state government has initiated a tender process for the private labs for Covid-19 tests after which the sample testing would gain momentum.
Thursday, 04 June 2020 | Gajendra Singh Negi | Dehradun