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Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: With Bhubaneswar turning into a Covid-19 hotspot, efforts have now been stepped up for testing of samples from affected pockets. Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) today constituted 13 special teams for the collections of samples for COVID-19 tests in different places in the capital city.

As per reports, the teams comprising doctors, teachers, police personnel and sanitary workers will collect samples in two shifts- 8 AM to 11 AM and 4 PM to 6 PM on a daily basis.

The teachers attached with each team will ensure proper documentation, filling up of forms at the sample collection centres. As per the guidelines of the Health and Family Welfare Department, the sanitary workers attached to the teams will take up necessary sanitation activities in the camp.

Earlier on Friday, Odisha Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy informed about a 'special strategy' to contain the spread of coronavirus in the State. He said that 5,000 samples will be collected and tested in Bhubaneswar within the next seven days on a priority basis as per the guidelines of the Health and Family Welfare Department.

“We have planned to collect maximum samples from Bhubaneswar. A survey was done to find out how Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad and other big cities are collecting samples and how many tests are being conducted. 1958 (38%) of total samples collected in Odisha is from Bhubaneswar. So, we are planning to collect 5000 more samples in the next seven days. If that happens, it will be an exceptional step as no State or city has been able to conduct as many tests per million or lakh population,” said Tripathy.

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Under the Bhubaneswar Strategy, the State government has prepared a scientific priority-basis methodology for sample collection and testing:

Priority 1: Those who have travel history, symptoms, primary contact, SARI patients, health workers, those who have come from domestic hotspots, and those failing to maintain social distancing.

Priority 2: Healthcare workers, police, sanitary workers, workers deployed in COVID hospitals

Priority 3: People aged 60 or above with multiple co-morbid conditions

Priority 4: Random population

As many as 1,024 samples sent for tests on April 17 (till midnight) tested negative for COVID-19 in the State, as per the data shared by the health department on its website yesterday.

Moreover, two more COVID-19 positive patients in the State have recovered and are in the process of being discharged from the hospital. Not a single confirmed case of coronavirus has been reported in the State in the last 72 hours. With this, the total active cases have come down to 38 in Odisha.

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