Odisha to Ramp up COVID Testing to 30,000 a day

Battling popular perceptions of low COVID testing rates, the Odisha administration has taken measures to ramp capacity in the state. The state intends to conduct over 30,000 tests a day by next week. The establishment of seven new laboratories this week would enable the state to cross 10,000 RT-PCR tests a day and facilitate an approximate 20,000 rapid antigen test kits.

PK Mohapatra, Additional Chief Secretary for Health and Family Welfare, said that the plan was to bolster the testing capability to 30,000-35,000 a day. Thereon, the scale of testing would be further decided based on the requirements.

“We had procured 5.25 lakh antigen test kits and orders for 13 lakh kits have already been placed. The consignment is expected to reach in a week. We have directed all hospitals to attend the patients having symptoms on a priority basis,” he added.

Districts have been tasked with carrying out COVID tests at the Central Health Care (CHC) as well as Primary Health Care (PHC) levels. Specifically, if a suspected carrier fails the rapid antigen test, a confirmatory RT-PCR test is to be done.

This move has been necessitated as the rapid test kits are known to show a considerable amount of false positives – wherein a true carrier may go undetected. However, it is advantageous because it can yield results in less than half an hour. On the other hand, RT-PCR test results take nearly a day.