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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: Even as the state government today started active community surveillance in the State's only COVID-19 hotspot - Bhubaneswar, State's capital city, the State Health Department today released data that showed Bhubaneswar having tested more Covid-19 samples than other hotspots like Mumbai, Thane, Delhi and Pune.

As per the released numbers, Bhubaneswar with 189.8 samples tested per lakh population is marginally ahead of Mumbai, which has tested 180.5 samples per lakh population as on April 14, 2020.

Covid-19 hostspot sample test

As per the information provided by State Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy, till Friday the total samples tested from Bhubaneswar stood at around 38 per cent of the total tests conducted across the state. In absolute numbers, the count stood at 1,958.

Significantly, when it comes to total novel coronavirus positive count, the Capital city accounted for a whopping 77 per cent of the Covid-19 positives in the State. In absolute count, the number stood at 46, including a migrated case from West Bengal.

Meanwhile, the novel coronavirus tests per million in Odisha today inched up to touch 191, as the total Covid-19 samples tested till Friday stood at 8619.  The calculation is based on census projections of population for the State for the year 2019.

If tests conducted per million population in Bhubaneswar is taken into consideration, then in Bhubaneswar, one of country's Covid-19 hotspots, the estimated number stood at around 1688 vis-a-vis State average of
191 per million.

This shows that Odisha has conducted more tests in Bhubaneswar in comparison to tests from other districts.

But the story is not all that goody-goody. As per information provided by State Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy, the total COVID-19 tests conducted in Bhubaneswar during the last 72-days (tests started since Feb 4) stood at 1,958, which  translates into around 27 tests per day.

It seems this is the reason why till date Covid-19 tests in Bhubaneswar accounted for a little over one-third of the total Covid-19 tests in the State.

Since the Centre has decided to link lockdown relaxations to burden of novel coronavirus positives in a State, the State government today scaled up the Covid-19 tests in the capital city.

A comparative look at other hotspots in the country tells a tale. When Bhubaneswar saw Covid-19 sample testing at the rate of 27 per day, 100- 200 tests per day are conducted in AP's port city Vishakapatnam.

Though Mumbai with 12 million population has marginally lower sample tests per lakh vis-a-vis Bhubaneswar, as per Maharashtra Health Department data, Mumbai is conducting 1200 tests per day. Similarly, the data with Gujarat government shows Ahmedabad, a hotspot, tests over 120 samples per day.

The history of the novel coronavirus across the globe shows that larger the tests conducted, more the positives detected.Kerala is evident to the trend in India.

As on April 16, Kerala has conducted a total of 18,029 tests, when its latest population is estimated at over 3.5 crore. The state's testing rate per million population stands at a high of 515. It is with such high testing rate, the Kerala government could make the Covid-19 graph go flat.

In order to scale up the pace, Odisha government today started active community surveillance in the Capital city. The state health department has targeted 5000 tests in next 7-days beginning today.  And on the first, it has plans to collect 1280 samples in the hotspot capital city.

As a part of active community surveillance, State health department will go for a massive collection of samples from high risk population like primary contacts of Covid-19 positives, persons with travel history (foreign country & source states), having SARI (severe acute respiratory illness) and ILI (Influenza like illness) etc.

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