Spike in COVID cases linked to augmented tests: Himanta

GUWAHATI: As the cumulative tally of COVID-19 positive cases in the state goes beyond the 1000 mark, Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday anticipated the trend to remain in the coming few days given the “very high” number of sample tests being conducted per day of late.

“Over 8000 tests were conducted on Friday itself, and consequently, we detected 177 COVID-19 positive cases in a single day yesterday. In the next three days, we are looking at conducting 10,000 sample tests per day. So, we would proportionately have more COVID-19 positive cases,” Sarma said.

Majority of the cases have been “imported” cases, with a surge reported from Golaghat district particularly, with several returnees from Chennai now under treatment there.

The minister said that barring Friday, the state has reported about 100 COVID-19 positive cases on an average.

“A clearer picture would come out by June 10, when the number of such returnees would considerably come down and we would be able to achieve some sort of stability,” Sarma said.

The eighth lab for COVID tests was inaugurated at North East Institute of Science and Technology (NEIST), Jorhat on Saturday. Assam already has a lab each in its medical colleges along with the one at RMRC, Lahowal.

The minister said that four more labs would be functional in the state by June 15, including one more at Guwahati medical College and Hospital. He also requested research institutes in the state to set up more such labs for COVID tests.

Quarantine norms

In regard to adherence to quarantine protocols in the rural areas, Sarma appealed to people to cooperate in the fight against COVID-19, and intimate authorities whenever they notice people jumping quarantine after arriving at railways stations, airports, etc.

“We have formulated a combination of seven days’ institutional quarantine and seven days’ home quarantine which needs to be strictly followed. People in the rural areas need to alert to the fact about home quarantine norms being strictly followed. If the norms are relaxed, there is a possibility of the virus spreading in the rural areas,” he said.

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