Two months after 1st COVID-19 case, Karnataka completes 1 lakh tests

The state is left with 21 more days to set up the 32 labs to raise total Covid testing labs to 60 for achieving at least 10,000 daily tests.

Bengaluru, May 9 : Two months after Karnataka registered its first COVID-19 positive case, the state completed one lakh-test milestone on Friday, Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar said on Saturday.

“Karnataka crossed the 1 lakh Covid tests milestone. Our fight against coronavirus will continue with more zeal,” said Sudhakar.

Cumulative Covid tests stood at 1,00,986 at the end of Friday, resulting in 789 positive cases till Saturday noon, indicating a positivity rate of 0.78 per cent, one of the lowest in India.

By Thursday, total tests stood at 97,429.

Total samples which tested negative for the virus till Friday were 92,237.

The one lakh tests were carried out at 28 labs across the state, led by National Institute of Virology (NIV), Bengaluru with 15,249 tests, followed by National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), 13,134.

Other top testers included Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMC & RI), 12,527 tests, Mysore Medical College and Research Institute (MMC RI), 9,280, GIMS, Gulbarga, 7,004 and others.

With less than 5,000 daily tests across the state on an average, Karnataka is aiming to test at least 10,000 people a day by May 30.

“We are boosting our testing capacity to have 60 labs by the end of this month and will be able to conduct 10,000 tests per day,” said Sudhakar.

Total tests executed on Thursday and Friday were 4,880 and 3,557 respectively, shy of the 5,000-mark.

With 28 testing labs, Karnataka is averaging less than 5,000 tests a day which the government wants to raise by 32 more to 60 labs by May-end to test 10,000 samples daily.

As part of this ambition, the state government has decided to establish Reverse Transcription – Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT – PCR) labs in all private and ESIC medical colleges.

Earlier, on April 10, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had ordered raising the testing capacity in all government and private colleges of the country on an urgent basis.

The Medical Council of India (MCI) has also directed the same while the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has designated various eminent institutions across the country as mentor institutions to raise testing capability.

According to Sudhakar, NIMHANS has been notified as the mentor institution for the state of Karnataka.

In addition to identifying mentor institutions, guidelines on required infrastructure and consumables for setting up real-time RT-PCR laboratories have also been suggested to the state governments.

On April 29, state Medical Education Department Additional Chief Secretary Jawaid Akhtar has ordered that all private and Employee State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) medical colleges operating in Bengaluru and Kalaburagi districts should establish RT-PCR labs in 30 days.

“NIMHANS is designated as the mentor institution to coordinate, guide, train and handhold all the institutions in this endeavour,” said Akhtar.

The state is left with 21 more days to set up the 32 labs to raise total Covid testing labs to 60 for achieving at least 10,000 daily tests.

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