Covid-19: Daily positivity rate in Bengaluru rockets to 55% | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: For the first time ever, the daily positivity rate in Bengaluru touched 55% on Monday, which means that for every 100 people tested for Covid-19, 55 were found positive. The decision to test only symptomatic people is one of the reasons for the rate spiking.
While 40,128 Covid-19 tests were conducted in Bengaluru on Sunday, 22,112 were positive. The average daily positivity rate in the first three days of May was 45%.
Experts have frowned on the decision to cull testing, warning that the double mutant variant is spreading quickly and can’t be ignored.
“Testing numbers are poor,” said Dr Giridhara R Babu, epidemiologist and member of the technical advisory committee. “Bengaluru used to do 1 lakh tests a day, but now with cases surging, only 40,000 tests are being conducted. This is certainly not the way to contain transmission. We are not only missing asymptomatic carriers but also those with symptoms and that’s concerning.”
Those fears were echoed by others working on Covid management. Dr CN Manjunath, nodal officer for Covid testing and head of Covid expert committee, said, “Testing numbers have dropped all over the country. So, the number of persons actually infected could be much higher than being reported.”
Researchers from Jeevan Raksha, an initiative of Proxima, a management consultant firm that analyses pandemic data, said the drop in testing would lead to deterioration of the health condition of Covid-19 patients. This could lead to increased demand for hospitalisation and mortality.
“In the week ending April 21, average daily testing was 94,022. It dropped to 88,684 in the week ending April 28. During the same period, 7-day moving growth rate (MGR) of positive cases shot up to 22%. The number of positive cases increased from 5,83,675 to 7,10,347 in Bengaluru Urban,” researchers said. Moving growth rate is used to gauge containment and velocity of the spread of virus.
However, BBMP special commissioner, Rajendra Cholan P said testing has not been reduced, but is more targeted now. “Testing random, asymptomatic people would have worked till now, but now when there is community spread, we need to isolate symptomatic people quickly. Even if the number of symptomatic people is more than a lakh a day, early detection helps,” Cholan said. He said primary contacts who are asymptomatic continue to be tested.
Cholan also confirmed there is an acute shortage of rapid antigen testing (RAT) kits, which has affected testing. “We need nearly 15,000 RAT kits every day, which is 4.5 lakh a month,” he said. “The government has asked us to procure on our own and we have floated tenders.”
A source said: “At a time when the positivity rate is high, the best way to isolate potential carriers quickly and initiate treatment for symptomatic patients is by testing them using RAT kits. That’s not happening now.”
When contacted, authorities at Karnataka Drugs Logistics and Warehousing Society said the process of procuring kits has begun. Officials, however, refused to provide data on the current stock of RAT kits in the state.

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Sagar Biswas

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