Kerala adopts new COVID testing strategy, to conduct more RTPCR tests

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Health Minister Veena George

Thiruvananthapuram: Health Minister Veena George informed that the state has adopted a new covid testing strategy as more than 71 per cent of the eligible population was vaccinated.

The health department has issued a set of guidelines based on the vaccination status in each district. More people will be screened to know the exact extent of the spread of the disease in the community. Covid situation is being examined in all districts after testing sentinel and random samples. The minister also said that random samples would be taken from all districts to assess the new centres and clusters of covid.

Individuals with all COVID symptoms such as mild sore throat, cough and diarrhoea are taken for RTPCR tests in the districts where 80 percent of the population received the first dose. Antigen tests will be conducted at these places as part of Sentinel Surveillance. This test is performed on people who are likely to be from high social contact places such as shops, malls, offices, institutions and transit sites.

Antigen tests will be sufficient for random testing to assess the disease status in each district. This method is also followed in local bodies where the first dose of the vaccine is administrated to above 80 percent of the population.The previous directive for testing will continue in places under local government bodies where only below 80 percent of people received the first dose.

People who completed two weeks after receiving the second dose and have no COVID symptoms will be exempted from random testing. Those who completed two months after COVID recovery also will be avoided from the test.

The collected samples should be sent to the labs without delay and the positive and negative results should be uploaded as soon as possible. Strict action will be taken against the labs which violate this direction, informed the minister.

The health minister also said that District Health Department Officers should take action to carry out quality checks of Antigen and RTPCR test kits.

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